Strokes are one of the more frightening health conditions that can be experienced by residents of Glendale and elsewhere due to the effects being different for everyone, including significant mental or physical changes.
Some people who have suffered strokes may be able to receive home healthcare afterward, others may need to relocate to an advanced care facility. Or in some cases, they may recover some of their lost abilities over time and be able to change their living or care situation.
The team at Accredited Home Care is able to provide assistance to clients who have experienced recent or older strokes, including letting them and their loved ones know about different resources in our community, such as specialists and support groups. A variety of therapists are also available.
This is also a perfect time to learn more: May is considered National Stroke Awareness Month, an opportunity to remind people about the risk factors that can cause a stroke; what signs to watch for or notice when one might be taking place; and what to do afterward.
Risk factors can include chronic alcohol use and cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, stress, poor diet, and poor exercise.
The month is also a chance to learn how common strokes can be: about 800,000 people have them in the U.S. each year, which breaks down to 65,000 a month or one every 40 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control say about 140,000 of these are fatal, and others can cause partial or permanent disability.
Many people who have them said they haven’t noticed any warning signs ahead of time. This makes it even more important to pay attention to all risk factors and take steps to try to minimize them, which could lower the overall chances of having a stroke.
What happens in a stroke
Though strokes can have different effects on the brain and the body, the general process is the same: a disruption in blood supply to the brain. This usually starts with blockage of at least one artery and can happen quickly. More damage to the brain can take place if a blocked artery bursts.
Any age, gender, and race can have strokes, but they are more common for age 65 and over. As many as 15 percent of them are sustained by children or younger people.
People who are already aware that a stroke could happen to them should make sure others around them can help identify what’s going on.
Symptoms can include sudden numbness, problems speaking or understanding, a strong headache or general confusion.
This includes being familiar with the FAST program, which is a current evaluation that just about everyone can recognize, rather than only medical professionals.
FAST stands for:
- Face, which can include looking at someone’s smile to see if the person’s head or face has been affected by a stroke, such as drooping.
- Arms: can they raise both arms at the same time? Or does only one arm rise and the other arm doesn’t lift, or begins to drift
- Speech: If someone no longer can speak clearly, their speech is muffled, slurred or distorted, they forget some words or actions or unable to repeat a recently learned sentence.
- Time: If a stroke is truly taking place, people should get professional help quickly. In some stroke cases, the sooner assistance is provided, the less damage to the brain takes place.
The result of a stroke can vary depending on what part of the brain loses blood flow and how much damage is sustained.
Sometimes the damage is permanent, sometimes lost abilities can return or be regained with certain types of therapy.
Strokes can affect or impact:
- walking and balance
- paralysis on the entire right or left sides of the body
- speech or memory
- mental health
Once treatment is taking place, hospital staff will determine the type of stroke and what kind of damage took place. If there is an immediate emergency, it may require surgery to restore blood flow or repair any ruptures.
After the immediate crisis passes, a doctor may perform various mental or physical tests to compare abilities before and after the stroke.
Then, a primary provider may recommend certain types of therapy, whether it’s physical therapy to rebuild or restore motion or muscle loss, or occupational therapy, which can help someone learn or relearn skills that can be used to get around their home or perhaps return to work.
Damage in the brain can also lead to different behaviors, ranging from everything being slower to someone being more impulsive than prior to their stroke.
Dealing with life after a stroke may increase fatigue, problems with coordination and general soreness as the body gets used to different muscles being used or different parts of the brain adapting.
Plus, living with the reality of these new changes can also cause stroke sufferers to feel depressed, scared, anxious and confused. Or, in some cases, the brain damage may tell them everything is fine so they won’t know why their bodies aren’t doing what it wants them to, such as moving a now-paralyzed limb.
Overall, strokes can be devastating, but there are rehabilitation options for those who experience them.