Recovering from a stroke can be a long and challenging road. It takes dedication and commitment, and depending on the severity of the stroke, it can take a considerable amount of time.
Helping a loved one recover from a stroke can be difficult to manage alone, but help is available through caregivers and professional home care agencies.
Extensive research has been done on successful stroke recovery to uncover the most effective techniques for dealing with the aftermath of a stroke. Motor function and mobility are of great importance in the recovery process, and are a major focus in the rehabilitation plan.
Risk of Repeat
Once a person has suffered a stroke, the risk of a second one increases significantly without an effective recovery plan. Time is of the essence when it comes to stroke rehab, and it is crucial to get a plan in place as soon as possible.
Stroke becomes about 40% more common after the initial episode, but focus on physical and cognitive healing help reduce that risk.
Some common effects may include confusion, depression, and PTSD in the period following a stroke. Any assistance that can be given to help stroke survivors deal with these issues is extremely helpful.
What is a Stroke?
There are two main types of stroke:
This type of stroke is the most common, and it occurs when the arteries to the brain become obstructed, blocking the flow of blood to brain cells.
A hemorrhagic stroke takes place when a blood vessel in the brain becomes ruptured or bursts, and begins bleeding into the brain. A brain aneurism is an example of this type of stroke.
Damaged Brain Cells
In the wake of a stroke, many of the cells in the brain are damaged due to lack of blood and oxygen. The good news is that these brain cells are not destroyed, they can be repaired and regenerated.
The process of brain cell regeneration is called neurogenesis.
The most significant healing typically occurs within the first 3 or 4 months after the stroke. That is why it is essential to begin the recovery process immediately.
The effects of a stroke are different for everyone, depending on a variety of factors like severity, health, and which side of the brain the stroke affected.
Left Brain Strokes
If a stroke occurred on the left side of the brain, the motor movements on the right side of the body will be predominantly affected.
Left brain strokes are likely to result in complications with speech and behavior. The person may become more slow and cautious than previous behavior would indicate. Memory issues, trouble focusing, and difficulty learning new concepts may also occur.
Right Brain Strokes
When a stroke happens on the right side of the brain, movements on the left side of the body will be impaired. Right hemisphere strokes also typically cause vision problems, and behavior may become more impulsive and erratic.
Strokes on the right side also generally bring about memory problems, lack of focus, and rambling speech.
Common Stroke Effects
Some other side effects that frequently occur after a stroke, may include:
- Affected gait and walking problems
- Joint pain and muscle stiffness
- Tingling sensations in extremities
- Chronic pain and nerve damage
- Lack of coordination
- Perception issues
- Emotional distress
The results of the stroke recovery process have improved significantly over the last few decades, with survival rates up more than 70% since the 1950s.
Recovery success is the result in improvements in a variety of areas, like the ability to reduce high blood pressure and inflammation, diagnosis techniques, and medication to dissolve blood clots immediately following a stroke.
There are many recommended practices for stroke recovery to aid healing and minimize damage.
A healthy diet is absolutely essential for optimal recovery. Avoiding processed foods with high fat and sugar is crucial. Diets should consist of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and quality fish and poultry.
Regular exercise is also key. Getting out for walks as often as possible is a good approach.
Stroke victims that become socially isolated after a stroke are much less likely to make a full recovery.
Social interaction is a good way to stimulate the mind, and brain games like crosswords, puzzles, and board games are also helpful.
People that have suffered a stroke can benefit immensely knowing there is someone they can rely on to offer support and encouragement. This can be a family member, friend, or home caregiver.