Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Stroke Association, however, 80% of strokes are preventable. While strokes affect people differently all strokes should be treated as medical emergencies.Strokes can be treated with clot-busting medication or treatments to stop bleeding in the brain, but only if the person gets to the hospital as quickly as possible. Call 911 immediately if you are with someone suffering a stroke.
It’s possible for a full recovery after a stroke, but more than two-thirds of survivors will have some type of disability. This raises the question of what to do after a stroke.
What is a stroke?
Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your brain. If blood flow to your brain is reduced or interrupted, these nutrients cannot reach your brain sufficiently. Your brain cells begin to die without these nutrients. This is called a stroke. Strokes are most often caused by blocked arteries in your brain, or a burst blood vessel. Stroke can result in a number of disabilities.
After a stroke an individual may experience loss of control of muscles, causing paralysis or loss of movement. Some may suffer pain or numbness.
A stroke may also cause memory loss, changes in behavior, or other cognitive difficulties. Someone who survives a stroke may have trouble recalling information, difficulties reasoning or understanding, or emotional issues.
Stroke can also diminish an individual’s ability for self-care.
Stroke Risk Factors
There are a number of factors that increase your risk of stroke:
- Being overweight or obese
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy drinking
- The use of certain illicit drugs
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Things you can do to improve your life after stroke
A stroke can affect all parts of your life – physical , social, and mental. Part of stroke recovery is identifying the ways in which stroke has affected you or a loved one. Learning more about stroke and stroke recovery from a medical professional can help you know what steps to take.
Those who have suffered a stroke are at a higher risk for having another stroke. Recurrent stroke can be prevented, however.
Rehabilitation therapy after a stroke can speed and improve your recovery. A rehabilitation program may include working with Physical therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists.
The most important thing to do after a stroke is talk to your doctor.