A stroke is a type of brain injury. Symptoms depend on the part of the brain that is affected. People who survive a stroke often have weakness on one side of the body or trouble with moving, talking, or thinking.
Most strokes are ischemic (is-KEE-mic) strokes. These are caused by reduced blood flow to the brain when blood vessels are blocked by a clot or become too narrow for blood to get through. Brain cells in the area die from lack of oxygen. In another type of stroke, called hemorrhagic (hem-or-AJ-ic) stroke, the blood vessel isn’t blocked; it bursts, and blood leaks into the brain, causing damage.
Strokes are more common in older people. Almost three-fourths of all strokes occur in people 65 years of age or over. However, a person of any age can have a stroke.
Recovering From Stroke
The process of recovering from a stroke usually includes treatment, spontaneous recovery, rehabilitation, and the return to community living. Because stroke survivors often have complex rehabilitation needs, progress and recovery are different for each person.
Treatment for stroke begins in a hospital with “acute care.” This first step includes helping the patient survive, preventing another stroke, and taking care of any other medical problems.
Spontaneous recovery happens naturally to most people. Soon after the stroke, some
abilities that have been lost usually start to come back. This process is quickest during the first few weeks, but it sometimes continues for a long time.
Rehabilitation is another part of treatment. It helps the person keep abilities and gain back lost abilities to become more independent. It usually begins while the patient is still in acute care. For many patients, it continues afterward, either as a formal rehabilitation program or as individual rehabilitation services. Many decisions about rehabilitation are made by the patient,
family, and hospital staff before discharge from acute care.
The last stage in stroke recovery begins with the person’s return to community living after acute care or rehabilitation. This stage can last for a lifetime as the stroke survivor and family learn to live with the effects of the stroke. This may include doing common tasks in new ways or making up for damage to or limits of one part of the body by greater activity of another.
Read more on Strokes: How Stroke Affects People
Get a Free Copy of Recovering After a Stroke: A Patient and Family Guide – courtesy of The StrokeCenter.org.
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