Understanding Stroke Risk
According to the numbers provided by the American Stroke Association, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds. The fact that strokes are often ignored or mishandled is just as disturbing.
According to the same source, almost 2 million brain cells die every single minute a stroke is left untreated. As a matter of fact, lack of proper treatment is the main reason why strokes are considered one of the leading causes of long-term disabilities in the United States. Stroke rehabilitation wouldn’t be necessary if strokes were caught in the early stages. While strokes are alarming medical concerns that could cause disabilities and even put one’s life on the line, in reality, they are largely treatable and preventable. The American Heart Association works in partnership with the American Stroke Association to encourage Americans to become Stroke Superheroes by becoming familiar with F.A.S.T-the most common signs and symptoms of a stroke- so they could act fast to save lives and prevent negative consequences that may impact one’s physical condition, health and well-being for a long period of time.
Identify and Address a Stroke F.A.S.T
It is crucially important for people to know the classic symptoms of a stroke and take action in a timely manner to save the lives of their loved ones. Some of the most common symptoms associated with a stroke are:
- Face Drooping: Numbness or face drooping is one of the most common indicators of a stroke.
- Arm Weakness: A numb or weak arm could also be a sign that the person standing next to you is having a stroke.
- Speech Difficulty: People on the verge of a stroke may be difficult to understand, or may have a hard time trying to communicate with others.
- Time to Call: If the person that you’re with displays at least one of the symptoms listed above, don’t hesitate to call 911, or make sure he or she gets to the hospital as soon as possible to benefit from the best medical care.
Avoid Potential Stroke by Making Lifestyle Changes
You can reduce your odds of having a stroke by minimizing blood sugar levels, losing weight, eating cleaner, controlling cholesterol levels, and managing blood pressure. In order to avoid a potential stroke, those who are more exposed to this threat should also stop smoking and stay active by embracing a personalized workout.
Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Can Help with Stroke Rehabilitation
While 80% of strokes are perfectly preventable, recent statistics show that 2/3 of all stroke survivors are left with long-term disabilities and require proper post-stroke rehabilitation.
The negative effects of a stroke may vary a great deal from one individual to another. Some may be dealing with sensory disturbances that include pain, while others may be forced to cope with paralysis or motor control issues, emotional disturbances, and also problems with memory and thinking.
All these issues could be addressed one step at a time with help from different categories of professionals, including physical therapists, occupational and speech-language pathologists.
Therapy plays a very important role in recovering from a stroke and can help survivors redevelop lost skills, regain their self-confidence and preserve their independence in the long run. Physical, Occupational and Speech therapists are trained in helping people recover and regain function after a stroke. For example, physical therapists can help stroke victims treat disabilities that are linked to sensory and motor impairments.
Generally speaking, stroke rehabilitation physical therapy for stroke survivors revolves around the practice of isolated movements, and the rehearsal of complex movements requiring balance and coordination, such as moving between obstacles or climbing a set of stairs.
At the same time, occupational therapists focus on perfecting sensory and motor abilities and ensuring the safety of their patients after the stroke. These professionals help individuals who have suffered a stroke to conduct a series of basic, self-directed activities, such as housekeeping, cooking and personal grooming; oftentimes, they show people how to divide a complex task into smaller, more manageable assignments, practice and repeat each key phase, and then see and complete the entire task as a whole. This tactic can help individuals conduct planned actions with more ease and improve their coordination.
Occupational therapists may also recommend home modifications to increase safety and create a risk-free environment for stroke survivors. Stroke rehabilitation in this case can include removing potential barriers and installing protective systems, such as grab bars placed in bathrooms.
Speech Language Pathologists work with individuals to identify any communication and swallowing issues and relearn skills that may have been lost. Speech therapy determines if the person is able to communicate immediate wants and needs effectively and also develops effective communication strategies. OT and ST perform cognitive testing to determine the best approach for care. Speech therapy will evaluate and will want to know how the person is talking, listening, reading and writing and how is the stroke effecting their quality of life.
When it comes to a stroke rehabilitation, all therapy disciplines (PT, OT, ST) come together and hone in on a collaborative treatment plan that is determined by the severity of the stroke. They look at the mind and body as one and work to get each patient back to their Prior Level of Functional (PLOF), or rather, the life they lived prior to the stroke.
Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS) therapists are experts in rehabilitation for adults 50+. Our highly experienced clinicians use evidence-based clinical programs to treat Stroke/CVA with proven recovery results. Contact us for more information: HTS Therapy