What Are the Effects of a Stroke?
The brain is a complex organ with intricate systems that are important when understanding the cause and effects of a stroke. The two causes of strokes include a hemorrhage in the brain or ischemia, the loss of blood supply, to the brain. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States records that more than 795,000 people experience a stroke each year and nearly 1 in 4 of those individuals are people who have previously had a stroke.
Each stroke and its effects vary from person to person based on the type, severity, location, and number of strokes. Since different parts of the brain control different parts of the body, a stroke to the cerebrum, the principal and largest part of the brain which plays a crucial role in the integration of complex sensory, motor, and cognitive functions (among other tasks), and a stroke to the cerebellum, a major feature of the hind brain which plays a vital role in motor control, have different effects on the person.
The three major parts of the brain are:
The damage that each of these parts can receive from of a stroke, results in life changing impairments. Because of this, a stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disabilities. Below are some effects that can be seen with a stroke to the different parts of the brain.
- Breathing and heart dysfunction
- Body temperature dysregulation
- Balance/coordination issues
- Chewing/swallowing difficulties
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
- Inability to walk
- Problems with coordination and balance
- Issues with Movement
- Speech challenges
- Vision issues
- Cognitive ability changes
- Emotional dysregulation
- Difficulties with Perception and orientation
- Sensory changes/numbness
Results of a stroke can be life-threatening and many everyday activities can change, such as the ability to work or living arrangements, because of the long-term effects. Although a stroke can cause some permanent loss of function, depending on where the stroke was located and the severity, there are also treatment and rehabilitation opportunities for those who experience a stroke to decrease the risk of having another and to get back their life before the stroke occurred.
After seeking professional medical advice, there are a few measures that can be implemented into everyday life that improve stroke rehabilitation, no matter the stage of the healing process.
Here are six (6) steps to recovery after a stroke.
1. Exercise the Body
After a stroke, many tend to avoid being active for various reasons, whether it’s disability or depression, but this is a dangerous cycle that can lead to further muscle weakness. It can be as simple as cleaning or going on a walk, but discuss options with your doctor to help set physical goals and design an exercise program that meets your abilities.
2. Get Creative
Language and communication can be difficult hurdles when undergoing stroke recovery. It takes patience and time, but there are creative ways to help boost your mood and creative spirit. Using keywords and drawing pictures are often used to communicate and help stimulate the mind. After suffering a life-threatening stroke and being unable to speak or write, John McNaught used his love for painting to help him cope during difficult times. The use of art has been shown to allow communication beyond traditional verbal language and gives many people the ability to continue to connect with those around them.
3. Stay Social
A stroke can cause mood changes, anxiety, and depression. When dealing with these stressful moments, it’s important to have a strong support system and people to rely on. Enjoy fun activities with family and friends or connect with a recovery program with others going through similar changes. Being around those who care is never a disadvantage even if it’s virtually
4. Create an Organized System
Strokes can often cause loss of focus and memory. Play around with organization tricks and ways to help you keep a routine. Taking notes, using calendars, and phone alarms are simple ways to jog memory and help cope with big changes. Through home and lifestyle adjustments, the ability to become gradually more independent may be attainable.
5. Plan a Healthy Lifestyle
In general, incorporating healthy choices into daily activities is beneficial, but for those who suffered from a stroke it’s essential. Whether it’s cutting down on added sugar or reducing caffeine intake, these little changes can go a long way. It’s also important to limit levels of sodium in your diet and to keep a healthy weight.
6. Connect with Medical Professionals
Keeping in contact with a medical professional is important when understanding more about you or a loved one’s stroke. When creating a balanced and structured system, discussing decisions with a doctor can determine exactly what an individual’s brain needs.
There are many ways to get the brain active and on the road to recovery from damage that occurred because of a stroke. Although rehabilitation can be difficult and frustrating, applying these steps to your recovery plan can provide guidance and strength during this period of change.
Here at Plasticity® Centers, our clinical team has helped clients who suffer from brain challenges like strokes, developmental challenges and many other neurological impairment needs. With various exercise and therapies, there are thousands of combinations of treatments we offer as part of our customized individual recovery plans. Through utilizing innovative technology and personalized treatments, we are able to achieve incredible outcomes by creating programs that are tailored to fit each client’s unique needs. Click here to learn more about our treatment process and how we can help your stroke rehabilitation goals.