Have you had a stroke? If so, you’re not alone — about 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year. Of this number, about 25% are recurrent strokes, meaning the person has already had at least one. We can overcome stroke. Rehabilitation is essential for accomplishing and enjoying all of your minor wins on the road to recovery. While strokes vary in degree and kind, many patients and their loved ones have been in your shoes – faced with critical rehab decisions that must be made fast. Life after a stroke can seem daunting, but rehabilitation can assist you in regaining your strength, courage, and independence.
In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death. However, it is also the number one cause of significant long-term disability because of the brain damage it can cause. If you have had a stroke, it’s normal to feel discouraged, uncertain, and even scared about your current prognosis.
However, understanding what happens during the recovery period after a stroke could empower and encourage you to make lifestyle changes that might help your brain heal and reduce the risk of experiencing another stroke.
What exactly is a stroke?
When a blood artery in the brain bleeds and ruptures, or when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, a stroke ensues. Oxygen and blood cannot reach the tissues of the brain because of the obstruction or rupture.
Stroke is one of the major causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every year, over 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. Tissue and brain cells are damaged and die within seconds of being deprived of oxygen.
Symptoms of a stroke
The blood shortage supply to the brain causes harm to the brain’s tissues. However, the parts of the body controlled by the damaged portions of the brain show stroke symptoms.
A person suffering from a stroke has a better chance of recovering if they obtain care as soon as possible. As a result, recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke may assist you in acting quickly. A stroke can cause a variety of symptoms:
- Issues with vision, such as double vision, vision that is clouded or fuzzy, or difficulties seeing in one or both eyes
- Arm, face, Numbness or weakness in the legs, particularly on one side of the body
- Slurred speech
- difficulty comprehending or speaking
- Having difficulty walking
How a Stroke Affects Your Brain and Body
There are two primary types of stroke:
- A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
- An ischemic stroke occurs when the brain’s blood supply is cut off or blocked.
Because a stroke kills brain tissue, the primary goal of rehabilitation is to teach you skills that may have been lost because of the damage in your brain. These programs can help you not only improve your day-to-day quality of life but also regain independence.
A Closer Look at Stroke Rehabilitation: Life after a stroke
How soon can you start life after stroke rehabilitation? It depends on your doctors, but typically the earlier, the better. Beginning a rehabilitation program shortly after a stroke could help you recover skills and abilities more quickly.
However, it’s important to understand that your doctor’s initial priorities after you experience a stroke are to stabilize you, get any life-threatening conditions under control, prevent another stroke, and limit complications as much as possible. You might start stroke rehabilitation within a day or two after having a stroke, while you are still in the hospital.
The brain is a remarkable organ that can heal itself, even after a stroke. Because of the brain’s neural plasticity — or ability to form new nerve cell connections — certain parts of the brain can substitute for others. For instance, if a bundle of cells gets damaged; other brain cells can step in and handle functions previously managed by the impaired portion. As your brain heals after a stroke, you can learn skills to compensate for any lasting injury or weakness.
Taking part in a focused rehabilitation program is one way to ensure that you can recuperate to the best of your ability. Your recovery plan may depend on the severity of the stroke and on how it affected you. For example, rehab may include physical activities such as:
- Mobility training: You might learn how to use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or ankle braces.
- Motor-skill exercises: Motor skill exercises help improve your coordination and muscle strength.
- Constraint-induced therapy: This type of exercise, sometimes called forced-use therapy, involves restraining an unaffected limb while moving the affected limb.
- Range-of-motion therapy: A stroke may have caused muscles to tense; these exercises loosen muscles and help extend your range of motion.
Emotional and cognitive activities often incorporated into stroke rehabilitation include:
- Therapy to improve communication skills: a stroke has impaired if, this type of therapy could help.
- Therapy for cognitive problems: A stroke can sometimes affect your ability to think, reason, and remember. Speech and occupational therapy could help improve your problem-solving, processing, and memory functions, as well as social skills and judgment.
- Psychological support: Experiencing a stroke may cause a variety of emotional issues, including depression, anxiety, anger, and/or grief. Part of your rehabilitation, therefore, might include professional counseling or participation in a support group with other stroke survivors. Your doctor may also prescribe medication such as antidepressants to help address these concerns.
Embrace Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Support Recovery
Besides a formal stroke rehabilitation program, there are several ways you can augment the healing process and lowering your chances of another stroke.
High blood pressure is the most treatable risk factor for stroke. Preventing high blood pressure should be a priority, but if you develop it, it’s critical to diagnose and treat it straight away. Other lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating a healthy diet: Cut back on sodium and enjoy a diet based on vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid salty snacks and junk foods that are high in calories and fat but contain few nutrients.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight: Being obese can increase your risk of stroke. Besides watching calories, consult with your doctor about strategies to lose or maintain a certain weight.
- Moving more: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of stroke and lower blood pressure as well. Moving more during the day — especially if you have a sedentary job — can help increase your activity level.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and other conditions, including a stroke. If possible, avoid secondhand smoke as well.
- Limiting alcohol: Alcohol use can also increase the risk of stroke, so it might help to reduce or eliminate any alcohol from your diet.
- Taking medications: Talk to your doctor about whether an aspirin regimen or other medication is a good idea for you.
- Controlling other conditions: Work with your doctor to determine how you can manage other health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you can control these issues more effectively, you could help prevent other ailments from developing.
Keep a Positive Attitude throughout the Recovery Process
The duration of stroke rehabilitation can depend on the severity of the stroke and any related complications. While some survivors recover fairly quickly, most people need long-term rehabilitation — months or even years — to recover lost skills and independence.
You can expect a rehabilitation plan to change as you relearn skills. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask for support from your loved ones. Stay connected to the people you care about and take time to attend to your emotional and physical health. However, a positive attitude toward recovery may be one of your greatest assets in the months to come. To learn more about the effects of a stroke, check out the accompanying resource.
If you fear you’re having a stroke, seek emergency medical attention right once. Clot-busting medication can only be given in the hours following the onset of stroke symptoms, and early treatment is one of the most effective strategies to lower your chance of long-term problems and impairment.
Whether you’re seeking to prevent the first stroke or passing through the phase of life after a stroke. Follow our article to learn more about life after a stroke. However, work with your doctor to develop what works for you, which may include medication intervention and changes in your lifestyle.
1. How much does your life change after a stroke?
A drastic change takes place after a stroke. The people might suffer from problems like weakness, paralysis, tingling sensation, and the problem with balance and coordination. They might require assistance in their day-to-day life and social support.
2. What should be taken care of in food for a person after a stroke?
The person should take care of the food they eat. The person should avoid taking salt, sugar, and processed food. They should also avoid trans, saturated and fried foods.
3. Does full recovery occur after stroke?
The recovery depends on the individual itself. In some people, it might take to some weeks while for some it may take some months while for some it might take some years too.