Stroke Recovery Technique

A stroke can be frightening, but recovery does take place. After rehabilitation, most people regain lost skills and maintain a high quality of life.

Recovering from a stroke can be a lengthy, often frustrating process. This usually depends on the severity, of course, and the location of the actual stroke.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A STROKE?

A stroke is a type of brain injury. They normally fall into one of two categories. Both are very different and are treated accordingly.

· ISCHEMIC-This type of stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is diminished or is cut off. This happens from either a blood clot or a narrowing of the arteries. This also happens to be the most common type of stroke.

· HEMORRAGIC-This type of stroke isn't caused by a blockage, but by an actual blood vessel bursting. This causes a rush of blood to flood an area of the brain.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE STROKE?

During the attack, blood flow is restricted or cut off from an area of the brain. This causes that area to slowly die, and brain damage can take place. What functions are lost depends on the location of the stroke. Strokes on the right side of the brain affect the left side of the body and strokes on the left side of the brain affect the right side of the body.

IF BRAIN DAMAGE TAKES PLACE, HOW CAN A PERSON RECOVER?

That's a good question! The brain is a remarkable organ. When the blood flow is cut off, new pathways can take over and supply the blood to that damaged area. Also, the brain can make compensations. One area will take over the functions that were previously handled by a different area. Remember, people can and do recover from a stroke!

WHAT ARE THE STEPS OF RECOVERY FROM A STROKE?

Usually, recovery happens in phases. It takes place over a period of time that can vary from a few weeks to a few years. Every stroke is different and the extent of damage varies. Below are the general phases that a stroke patient can expect to go through.

· TREATMENT FOR THE ACTUAL STROKE- This begins when a person first enters the hospital. Doctors will determine the type of stroke and will provide the appropriate treatment. This may consist of drugs to break up clots and thin the blood or surgery to repair a broken blood vessel. Treatment is aimed at preventing another stroke from taking place and limiting the amount of brain damage that occurs.

· RECOVERY- After a stroke, some spontaneous recovery takes place for most people. Abilities that may have been lost will begin to return. This process can take place very quickly over the first few weeks, and then, it may begin to taper off.



· REHABILITATION- This phase usually takes place while the patient is still in the hospital. Various therapists and specialists will work with the stroke victim to bring back lost skills. This can be a very frustrating time for the patient as they become aware of their limitations from the stroke. Oftentimes, this is the period where anger or depression can set in. It's good to remember that with proper therapy, many or most skills can be relearned.

· RETURNING TO THE HOME ENVIRONMENT-This can be a very exciting time, but adjustments may have to be made. Some of the adjustments might be temporary or some may last for a lifetime.

For the stroke victim, simple tasks such as tying shoes or fastening pants can be difficult. These are easy to remedy. Velcro shoes and drawstring pants can be worn. Other issues may not be as easy. But take courage. There will be many experts to ease this transition.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE AFFECTS FROM A STROKE?

Again, this will depend on which area of the brain is affected. Some common after-effects of a stroke are:

· Paralysis or simple weakness on one side of the body. Remember, this will be the opposite side of the body from which the stroke occurred.

· Difficulty with speech.

· Trouble with swallowing.

· Difficulty with urination.

· Balance and coordination problems.

· Problems with cognitive functions-The stroke victim may have memory problems or may have difficulty following directions.

· Fatigue

· Emotional upsets-These can vary from depression to bouts of spontaneous laughter.

WHAT ABOUT LONG-TERM DISABILITIES?

This can happen. There again, it depends on each individual. Some strokes are mild and will result in complete recovery. Others are severe and will produce lingering problems.

CAN I PREVENT A STROKE FROM OCCURRING?

There are things that you can do to minimize your risk of having a stroke. Many strokes are caused by fatty deposits that reduce the blood flow to the brain. A proper diet, coupled with regular exercise, can keep your body strong and healthy.

Also, there is research that strongly suggests that consuming aspirin and vitamin E on a regular basis may help to prevent ISCHEMIC strokes. The vitamin E keeps the blood thin while the aspirin lowers the clotting ability of the blood. The drawback to this type of preventative course is that it can cause a small number of HEMORRAGIC strokes. For many people, this type of prevention out ways the risk. Remember, most strokes are ISCHEMIC in nature.

*** Do talk with your doctor before you undertake any type of self-treatment. This type of therapy is not appropriate for everyone.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A stroke can be scary, but recovery can and does take place. A positive outlook is one of the most useful tools during the rehabilitation process.

© High Speed Ventures 2011