Stroke Recovery Process
June 03 2020
Stroke Recovery Process
A stroke is a pathological condition characterized by a sharp violation of the circulatory process in one or many parts of the brain. There are two types of stroke:
- ischemic (it happens due to a narrow, partial or complete blockage of the artery)
- hemorrhagic (associated with the damage or complete rupture of a vessel)
Ischemia causes a disruption of blood circulation in the brain vessels and the death of parts of its soft tissues. The degree of tissue trauma received during a stroke will depend on the duration of oxygen starvation and the general state of the person’s health. The volume and nature of the brain damage will determine the length of the patient’s rehabilitation program following a stroke.
What Are the Stroke After Effects?
Medical experts divide stroke consequences into three categories:
- Mobility disorders: paresis, paralysis, and contracture.
- Speech impairment – in the case of damage to areas of the brain that are responsible for understanding, recognizing speech, comparing concepts and words that correspond to them.
- Cognitive and emotional-volitional disorders: impaired memory, attention, cognitive and intellectual activity, and depression.
Stroke leads to a sudden loss of certain functions provided by the damaged part of the brain. Just as there are no two identical people, there are no exact same manifestations of stroke consequences. Here are some symptoms after a stroke that the patient can experience:
- Muscle weakness or paralysis of half the body (face, arm, leg)
- Impaired sensitivity and perception
- Pain in the paralyzed part of the body
- Visual disturbances (loss of part of the field of view of one or both eyes, double vision)
- Aphasia – a violation of the speech and its comprehension, as well as difficulties with reading, writing and naming things
- Dysfunction of the pelvic organs (incontinence of urine or feces, urinary retention)
- Disorders of mood and change of character (anxiety, depression, aggression, apathy, and attacks of causeless crying or laughter)
- Impaired memory, attention, or thinking
- Impaired consciousness (significant drowsiness, coma)
- Difficulties swallowing
The consequences of a stroke depend on the location of the damage and its severity.
A stroke in the right hemisphere often causes the following consequences:
- paralysis of the left side of the body
- problems with spatial perception
- left side vision loss – the patient does not notice objects or people located to his left
- lack of awareness or recognition of the consequences of the stroke
The effects of stroke on the left side of the brain include:
- paralysis of the right side of the body
- speech disorders (aphasia)
In case of the localization of a stroke in the cerebellum, the patient may experience problems related to:
Typically, a stroke that affects the brain stem causes the most severe consequences. This area of the brain is responsible for controlling involuntary functions such as breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, etc. Besides these, the brain stem also controls functions such as swallowing, speech, hearing, or eye movements. Also, the channels through which information transmits from the cerebral hemispheres to the limbs pass through the brain stem. Thus, the damage to this area of the brain also causes paralysis in one or both halves of the body.
How Long Does Post Stroke Rehabilitation Take?
There is no standard timing for recovery from a hemorrhage. The rehabilitation period depends on the following factors:
- the type of stroke
- the size and location of the affected area
- how much time passed from the moment the stroke began to the provision of specialized care
The process of recovering from a stroke consists of four periods:
- Acute: the first three – four weeks. Rehabilitation begins in the neurological department.
- Early recovery: first six months. The first three months are especially crucial for the restoration of motor skills. The patient can be going through this recovery stage in the rehabilitation department of a hospital or a rehabilitation center. If all these options are not available, the person can receive treatment on an outpatient basis.
- Late recovery: six months – one year. It is the time of outpatient rehabilitation. If the patient cannot attend the rehabilitation department of a hospital, there is an option of receiving home care.
- Remote: after one year. Typically, the rehabilitation continues at home.
The human body has an incredible ability to regenerate. As the rehabilitation begins, the relationships between the brain structures start to rebuild, and previously inactive neurons activate. However, for successful recovery and prevention of complications, stroke patients need to begin receiving rehabilitation measures immediately after the stroke.
If the patient’s condition allows, rehabilitation begins after the completion of active resuscitation. Already in the intensive care unit, healthcare professionals start the positioning treatment when they try to change the patient’s posture to prevent the development of contractures in the joints and bedsores. In this case, stroke paralysis of the left side recovery remedies do not differ from those of patients with other damaged areas. Essentially, it is a measure of prevention of serious complications caused by the patient’s immobilization.
That is, in the acute stage of the disease – the first days and weeks after a stroke, is critical for the rehabilitation process. During this time, doctors simultaneously carry out post-stroke treatment and preventive measures to avoid a second stroke. In severe cases, such as the massive stroke recovery process, the medical personnel will help to perform passive rehabilitation exercises. However, for a successful recovery process, it is essential for the person to make efforts and participate.
Stroke Therapy Methods
Both after ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, the principles of recovery are the same:
- early start of rehabilitation
- continuity at all stages of the rehabilitation program, using a comprehensive approach, assigned and supervised by professionals
- the intensity of daily therapy
Stroke recovery time depends on these factors directly. Without early rehabilitation and consistency in the following stages, successful recovery becomes impossible.
Therapy after stroke consists of the following methods:
- Mobility recovery
- Speech and swallowing recovery
- Updating nutrition with physician’s guidance
- Blood pressure control and drug therapy
- Hygiene procedures (including stoma care and removal)
- Symptomatic treatment (prevention or treatment of bedsores, pain relief, etc.)
- Restoring the control of the pelvic organs
- Treatment of depressive conditions with the help of a psychologist
Such treatment allows a smooth recovery for the patient. But how long can you live after a stroke?
After the patient suffers a stroke, the prognosis depends on physical and psychological factors, as well as on the quality of rehabilitation. Good appetite, restoring mobility, and deep sleep after stroke are signs of recovery.
Survival of patients under 50 years old after a stroke is 57% higher than among older people. During the first month after a stroke, the risk of death is about 30 percent. Within the first year, the risk increases up to 40 percent, and in five years – up to 60 percent. The increase in mortality is attributable to other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease or accidents.
In the first year after an ischemic stroke, about 60% of patients survive, while after a hemorrhagic stroke, only 38% do. After five years, only 31 and 24% of patients, respectively, survive.
Comprehensive rehabilitation can significantly lower the risk of death from the effects of stroke, reduce the risk of re-stroke, restore lost brain functions, self-care skills, and improve the psychological state.
A stroke can lead to disability and dependence on others. In this case, a person cannot take care of himself, requiring specialized care.
At All American Home Care, we have been providing top-quality personal assistance for years. Our main goal with post-stroke patients is to provide smooth, stress-free recovery. We know how to find the right approach to every person going through rehabilitation and believe that compassion and care are some of the potent stroke recovery tools. Contact us via phone, email, or online form now to receive free information on our services!