Stroke Treatment and Life after Rehabilitation
Just Experienced Stroke?
If you just experienced a stroke, you are most likely scared and confused. Some of the questions you have may include: “Why did I have a stroke?”; “What kind of stroke treatment is available?”; and “What kind of rehabilitation do I need?”.
Your experiences will vary depending on where in your brain the stroke occurred and the type of stroke. Learn more about stroke, risks, types of treatment and rehabilitation, and recovery for your specific post-stroke challenges.
What is STROKE?
Also referred as “ Brain Attacks” or CVA (Cerebro Vascular Accident); Stroke is loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain.
This disturbance is caused by either Ischemia (lack of blood flow) or Haemorrhage ( rupture of blood vessels). Ischemia can be caused because of thrombosis (blood clot) blocking the flow of blood to brain and accounts to 80% of stroke cases.
Stroke and Ischemic heart disease together form the most lethal disease in India, causing long lasting brain damage and debilitating disabilities among those who survive
Why did I have a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. There are many factors that may contribute to having a stroke.
Risk Factors that can cause Stroke
Stroke is preventable with manageable risk factors such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Cigarette Smoking, High Alcohol Consumption, Sedentary lifestyle, Obesity and high cholesterol.
But there are certain non-modifiable risk factors such as Aging, Gender (males more affected than females) and Cardiac disease.
The cause of some strokes is never known. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented.
How do I know – Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms usually appear suddenly, over seconds to minutes and symptoms depending upon the area of the brain affected. Following are some of the main symptoms:
- Hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body including face)
- Numbness and Loss of sensations in the affected side of the body
- Altered smell, taste, hearing or vision, difficulty in swallowing and speech
- Balance problems, altered walking pattern and activity of daily living such as eating, dressing, mobility etc. get affected
Immediate treatment can help minimize effects of stroke and improve recovery outcomes. Since stroke is a medical emergency, Rush the affected person to a medical facility.
The first line of treatment is Thrombolysis ( breaking the clot down) or Thrombectomy (removal of the clot by surgery).
Stroke affects everybody differently. Many stroke survivors continue to improve over a long time, sometimes over a number of years. Recovery from stroke involves making changes in the physical, social and, emotional aspects of your life.
After the hospital discharge, a sustained Rehabilitation is required to resume lost body functions.
Rehabilitation is about getting back to normal life and living as independent a life as possible. It involves taking an active approach to ensure that your life goes on. This can mean learning new skills or relearning old ones. It may involve adapting to new limitations and post-stroke conditions. Or it can mean finding new social, emotional, and practical support to live your best life post-stroke.
With good care and rehabilitation, there is life after stroke.
Stroke Rehabilitation Programme
It is a process to help the stroke affected people to return back to normal life as much as possible by regaining & relearning the skills of everyday living. Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and Speech therapy – together form the cornerstones of the Rehabilitation process for such people.
How Physiotherapy can help in Stroke Rehabilitation
- Physiotherapist focuses on educating the patient and family members about the condition, improving the joint range and strength by performing exercises & relearning functional tasks such as bed mobility, transfers, walking etc.
- Physiotherapist also works with patient to improve awareness and use of hemiplegic side with use of various neurological methods such as NDT/BOBATH.
- Advanced Physiotherapy setups like those of ReLivaTM also offer novel non-invasive rehabilitation methods like Mirror therapy/ Motor Imagery etc.
- Stroke also reduces general fitness thus a Cardiorespiratory Training under the supervision of a trained physiotherapist can improve the walking speed, tolerance & independence during walking.
Stroke Rehabilitation should be started as quickly as possible and can last anywhere from few months to over a year. Early recovery and rehabilitation can improve functions and sometimes result into remarkable recoveries for someone who suffered a stroke. Maximum return of function can be achieved/seen in the very first few months after the stroke incidence, so it is advisable – “Sooner the Better”