Having a stroke is a very serious medical event. It can change your life in a number of ways, and it is always possible that you might experience another stroke in the future.
What is a Stroke?
When the blood supply to the brain becomes compromised, a stroke can occur. Without blood flow to the brain, brain cells will begin to die. When this happens, a person is at risk of permanent disability and death.
There are two main types of stroke; they are ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes.
Ischemic strokes happen when a blood clot cuts of the blood supply to the brain. This is the most common type and accounts for more than 80% of all strokes.
Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain bursts.
What Causes a Stroke?
There are several reasons why the blood flow to the brain may be affected. This could be because of an existing health problem or a new issue.
People who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or an irregular heartbeat are more likely to experience a stroke.
Treatment and Recovery
Once the cause of a stroke has been determined, then the appropriate treatment route can begin. This could involve medication to treat a blood clot, medication to keep blood pressure down, or medication and dietary changes to combat high cholesterol.
Due to the severity of a stroke, it is likely that the patient will have ongoing health concerns and a reduction in independence. A person may find that their speech is affected and that they are unable to enjoy the same level of mobility and movement.
Stroke patients will often have difficulty eating because the brain struggles to coordinate the muscles involved for this essential task. Swallowing liquids can become especially difficult as they are harder to control than food. Products such as Simply Thick gels are used to thicken liquids for stroke patients, enabling them to swallow with more control.
In the most severe cases, tube feeding may become the most sensible route. This might involve a very thin tube being placed up the nose and down the back of the throat to lead food directly into the stomach. Alternatively, a tube might be placed directly through the skin to feed directly into the stomach.
Tube feeding can often be done easily at home by the patient with no need for ongoing medical supervision.
Problems with balance and vision can be the main reasons for big life changes after a stroke.
Patients may have trouble moving independently, as well as trouble seeing properly. Both of these issues can lead to decreased spatial awareness, as well as issues with interpreting surroundings.
Physiotherapy may help to decrease the impact of these problems on day-to-day life.
Stroke survivors are also often afflicted by bowel and bladder issues, with a third of survivors likely to have permanent problems. It is possible to manage bowel and bladder problems with medical intervention and lifestyle changes. However, it is to be expected that this can have a serious impact on everyday life.