What is a stroke? How does it happen? Can it be prevented? Is there rehabilitation after one has a stroke? Strokes can be mild or severe and most people know someone who has experienced them to varying degrees. One may lose their ability to speak indefinitely if a stroke damages that part of their brain. The brain is divided into left and right hemispheres. From a top view it almost looks like two walnut halves. The left hemisphere of the brain controls speech and language. The brain occupies only 5% of the body but requires 20% of blood flow to function properly. Stroke like symptoms tend to last between 10 and 15 minutes involving the face, arm and leg, slurred speech and blurred vision. If these symptoms are being experienced get the person to an emergency room as quickly as possible as there are drugs that can be administered to break up the clot.
According to an article in ScienceDaily.com “An aspirin given to stroke patients immediately upon arrival at the hospital may help to prevent recurrent strokes in the high-risk time frame immediately following the first stroke, according to the results of a combined analysis of two large studies.” It goes on to say “The American Heart Association's guidelines for treating acute ischemic stroke suggest that aspirin may be effective in patients with acute stroke, but that aspirin should not necessarily be used in conjunction with clot-busting thrombolytic therapy.”
A stroke is essentially an attack on the brain. Blood carries oxygen and a clot stops blood flow thus cutting off oxygen to that region. As a result brain tissue starts to die due to this oxygen deprivation. Paralysis, loss of bodily functions as well as memory loss are all possible after effects of a stroke. According toTheVisualMD.com strokes are “the first leading cause of disability and the 3rd leading cause of death.” Up to 80% of all strokes can be prevented by following some simple guidelines (stop smoking, exercise, control diabetes) and getting your carotid arteries checked for blockages.
As detailed on the site strokeassociation.org there are two types of strokes; Ischemic (clots) and Hemorrahagic (bleeds). These two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). But the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). An Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases. TIA (transient ischemic attack) is sometimes called a mini stroke and is caused by a temporary clot. These are warning signs of larger problems and lifestyle changes should be implemented after one of these in an effort to prevent a more severe stroke down the line.
Once a stroke has occurred the individual may require in-home care to ease the burden of day-to-day activities. Everyday tasks such a driving, shopping, dressing, cooking and bathing can now feel overwhelming. In such cases Medicare will pay for temporary in-home assistance with a doctors prescription. Home health aides can also assist with a doctor’s rehabilitation regiment. It can be difficult to exercise or do therapy on your own. Having someone there to keep you on a schedule, remind you to take medication, do the shopping and cooking can make all the difference in the world to your recovery.
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