A stroke is a life-threatening neurological condition, which is caused by a blockage in blood flow to the brain. The longer a person is left untreated, the more severe the damage to the brain. Strokes affect around 150,000 people within the UK alone per year and cause a variety of symptoms, causing the deaths of 800,000 people in US, according to http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/
Major symptoms of a stroke include:
Drooping on one side of the face. The arms dropping to the side with an inability to lift them.
Slurred speech. The quicker you react to a stroke, the higher the chance of successful treatment, so if you notice these symptoms in a loved one, call for urgent medical help as quickly as possible.
What are the consequences of a stroke?
A stroke is a very serious medical condition. It can cause permanent damage to the brain and leave many who were previously very fit and active requiring around-the-clock care. Strokes commonly affect speech, movement and coordination, strength and memory. Strokes affect people to different degrees. For example a very minor stroke may cause no permanent damage, while a severe stroke could leave an individual completely reliant on others in the future.
5 Tips to Help Recover from Stroke
When a loved one has had a stroke, being discharged from hospital is often just the beginning of the recovery journey, which can last a lifetime. The support of family and friends is very important for many stroke sufferers and so here are some tips to help you to help a loved one recover:
Helping with exercises and physical rehabilitation
Strokes can have a major impact on the ability to move and can also make the muscles stiff and weak. If your loved one has had a stroke and their movement and coordination has been affected, it is likely that they will be advised to see a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists work with stroke victims to improve mobility, increase strength and flexibility and you can help your loved one by practicing their exercises with them and helping them to gain confidence when they do their exercises at home. The physiotherapist will show you how to do the exercises and discuss how often they need to be done.
Lending your support
A stroke can literally transform a person’s life in a matter of minutes and it may take a long time for your loved one to digest the fact that they have had a stroke.
It is hugely beneficial for those who have had strokes to have someone to talk to and depend upon for emotional support and advice. Caring for another person is very difficult though, so make sure you take time for yourself and ask for any help if you need it.
Helping around the home
A stroke can leave individuals completely dependent on others and your help and support will be very valuable, especially at the beginning when your loved one is adjusting to life at home. If you can learn specific skills that can help your loved one or spend time trying to make their home more accessible – it will make a huge difference. An occupational therapist will help you to ensure that the home is safe and as accessible as possible to help your loved one live as independently as they can.
Take your loved one to a stroke support group
Stroke support groups enable those who have had a stroke to meet others in the same situation. They are also a great way for careers to get together and meet other careers. Often, sharing experiences and meeting new people can give stroke sufferers more confidence and help to them to stay positive, which can be very difficult when their life has changed so dramatically.
Try to encourage positive thinking
Depression is a common consequence of strokes, so try to encourage your loved one to think positively and encourage them to seek help if they display any symptoms of depression or anxiety. There is professional help available for stroke sufferers and their careers and there is absolutely no shame in asking for assistance.