Living with Stroke

The power of positive thinking has been recommended by successful people for years. According to the American heart association’s roundtable of stroke survivors, it is an absolute must for successful stroke survival. Although stroke can be a sudden, life-changing event for the person it happens to and those around them, people do recover. Recovery from stroke is a lifelong process. For many people recovery begins with formal rehabilitation. It is important to know that no matter where an individual is in the recovery journey – there is always hope.The best chance of recovering from a stroke is getting early medical help, being patient as functions return, accessing a good rehabilitation programme and keeping motivated, even if progress seems slow.

Presented in the following sections are the basic relevant information about stroke, its risk factors, treatment and management.

Stroke

Described as sudden discontinuation of blood flow to a part of the brain and is at times called a “brain attack.” If the blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain does not get blood and oxygeni.Stroke most commonly results from occlusion of a major artery in the brain and typically leads to the death of all cells within the affected tissueii.

Causes

Causes of stroke include;

  • a blocked artery (ischemic stroke)

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  • a leaking or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

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  • Some people may experience a temporary disruption of blood flow through their brain (transient ischemic attack, TIA)iii.

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Risk factors for stroke

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Stroke risk is also higher in individuals with:

  • Heart disease or poor blood flow in their legs caused by narrowed arteries
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, high fat diet, and lack of exercise

How does stroke affect people?

  • Damage to the right side of the brain can cause weakness of the left arm, leg and face.
  • Damage to certain other areas causes speech damage.
  • Even a small stroke in the brain stem can cause severe problems as many nerves pass through in same region from the brain to the spinal cord.
  • Damage to the left side can cause loss of coordination in the right arm and leg.
  • Damage to the base of the brain can cause unsteadiness and poor co-ordination.

Treatment

Prompt treatment of stroke can prevent more widespread brain damage and help prevent serious consequences. Treatment may include medication or surgery depending on the nature of the stroke and the seriousness of the symptoms. The goals of treatment are,

  • to prevent life threatening complications that may occur soon after the development of stroke symptoms,
  • prevent future strokes,
  • reduce disability,

prevent long term complications, and get the patient as much normal as possible through rehabilitation.

Urgent need to act fast

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  • Getting fast medical treatment lowers the risk of disability or even death. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms—and to get help right away. Immediate attention can increase chances of survival in stroke patients.

Lifestyle adjustments

Move forward with positivity, patience and perseverance. Incorporate positive changes in lifestyle. Indulge in optimum physical activities and keep stress at bay.
Lifestyle changes may include the following.
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Also, prevention or treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are known modifiable risk factors. The NICE Guidelines recommends the following changes;

Dietary changes

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  • Eat healthy diet

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Physical activity

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Missed doses of anti platelets and side effects

In case of missing a dose of medication, that dose should be taken as soon as possible and then continue the normal course may be continued. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose may be skipped and regular schedule continued. A double dose should not be taken to make up for a missed one.

Do’s and Don’ts

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  • Avoid unhealthy lifestyle activities
  • Say no to smoking, alcohol and stress

Do’s and Don’ts for caregivers

Do’s

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Don’ts

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In conclusion

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