Understanding Strokes

According to the Stroke Association, a stroke is a medical emergency so do not hesitate to seek medical attention! If any of the following symptoms occur, ACT FAST, call 911:

Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. A stroke can happen when:

  • A blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This is called an ischemic stroke.
  • A blood vessel breaks open, causing blood to leak into the brain. This is a hemorrhagic stroke

Neurological studies suggest that if one or more of the symptoms is present for less than 24 hours, it may be a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a temporary loss of brain function and a warning sign for a possible future stroke.

The person’s safety must be considered. Some people with stroke appear to have no awareness of their surroundings on the affected side. Others show indifference or lack of judgment, which increases the need for safety precautions. For these people, friends and family members should repeatedly reinforce important information, like name, age, date, time, and where they live, to help the person stay oriented.

The goal of long-term treatment is to recover as much function as possible and prevent future strokes. Depending on the symptoms, rehabilitation might include; physical therapy, occupational therapy,  and speech therapy. The recovery time differs from person to person. Home Healthcare or a skilled nursing facility may be required to provide a safe environment, control aggressive or agitated behavior, and meet medical/therapeutic needs.

Often family members may be concerned about the likelihood of a family predisposition to stroke.  Tips to reduce the risk of stroke are; control your blood pressure, do not smoke, follow doctors orders if you are diabetic, exercise, know and understand your cholesterol numbers, enjoy fresh whole foods such as meat, fruits and vegetables, inform your physician if you have circulation problems.

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