History and Background
The CDC reports that stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. And that 1 person dies every 4 minutes from a stroke. Stroke is the result of a disruption in the blood flow in the brain which deprives the cells of oxygen causing them to die. Depending on which arteries are involved will determine the severity and the type of the resulting symptoms. The symptoms following stroke include thinking, reasoning, problem solving, memory, emotions, speaking, swallowing, vision, upper extremity and lower extremity movement, and balance.
This occurs when there is an occlusion in a deep penerating arteery that supplies the deep brain structures.
What Causes a Stroke?
A stroke is due to some disruption and event involving blood flow to the brain. Therefore, many cardiac condiitions place an individual in a “high risk” category for stroke. The most common causes are due to weakness in a blood vessel, thickening of the blood vessel walls (atherosclerosis), arterial stenosis, and some hereditary conditions. The following is a list of controllable and uncontrollable risk factors Controllable Risk Factors
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Blood disorders (sickle cell disease, anemia)
Sources: Cleveland Clinic, National Stroke Association, American Heart Association Uncontrollable Risk Factors
- Age: Risk increase over age 55
- Gender: More common in males
- Race: higher prevalence in african-americans
- Family History
- Previous stroke
- Artery abnormalities: aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation
- Patent foramen ovale: “hole in the heart”
- Fibromsucular dysplasia
How to decrease chances of having a stroke?
The CDC reports that 1 of 4 people who have had a stroke have another stroke within 5 years. As much as 17% of people who experience a TIA (“mini stroke”) have a stroke within 90 days.
By adopting a healthier lifestyle, you can change many of the items in the “controllable risk factors” list. Small changes today can dramatically impact your future. Below is a list of lifestyle modifications to get your started on the path to a healthier way of living.
- Drink a glass of water before every meal
- Cut back on sugary beverages. This is one of the easier ways to cut down on your overall caloric intake.
- Try making healthier food 1 meal/week, as this becomes easier, increase to 2 meals, then 3 meals…etc.
- The meals where you eat your regular food, try cutting your portion size by 1/4 or 1/2. Wrap it up and then you have something to look forward to at a future meal.
- Consult a dietician – this is just as valuable as making your doctors apointments
Acute stroke symptoms is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. If you or a someone you know is experiencing acute symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately
Sudden Numbness or weakness in the face arm, or leg on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Getting immediate medical attention is imparitive to decrease the amount and severity of permanent brain damage. Most treatment are the most effective if treated within the first 3 hours from the onset of symptoms.
In the initial days following a stroke the medical team is focused on stopping the bleed (in a hemorrhagic stroke) or removing a clot to allow areas of the brain to receive the necessary blood flow that keeps neurons alive.
In most cases, someone will require to remain in the hospital to re-learn the mobility necessary to safely return home
Returning home is a HUGE step! This can also be a time when you may feel a little discouraged because you cannot do things the way you did them before your stroke. Hang in there! You still are still in the early stages and your progress is still in the early stages. This also means that choosing the BEST outpatient clinic is critical. Here is where your recovery will require a skilled physical therapist, board certified in neurology, to use proven techniques to form NEW connections where damage has occurred. You will perform repetitive movements while your therapist provides hands on techniques to regain normal movements. Repetition is key as your brain is trying to re-learn these movements to allow you to regain your independence. Orlando Neuro Therapy provides longer sessions and 100% hands-on, one-on-one care to get you, your life back!