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What Happens After a Stroke?

Physical therapy can be helpful for patients who have had a stroke.
A person who has had a stroke is at high risk of having a second one.
A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
A sedentary lifestyle can increase one's risk for stroke.
The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.
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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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The time after a stroke can be very frightening. There are no absolutes in stroke recovery. About 700,000 people experience strokes each year, and roughly two-thirds of these people will require rehabilitation services to recover.

Immediately after a stroke medical professionals will work to stabilize your condition. Strokes are the third most common reason for death, so your survival is the first concern of the medical staff. Once your condition stabilizes, your medical team will immediately turn toward rehabilitation. Strokes are the leading cause of long term disability, and doctors recognize the importance of helping you regain as many of your lost and damaged skills as possible.

To help you recover after having a stroke, your doctor will assemble a rehabilitation team that is chosen to directly address your health problems. Some of the health professionals that help in stroke recovery are physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists and social workers. These professionals work under the supervision of a physician to help you recover after a stroke.

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One of the main concerns your doctor may have for you after a stroke is the risk of another stroke. 25% of people who suffer from a stroke will experience a second stroke within five years; nearly 15% will experience a second stroke within the same year. For this reason, your physician must balance the importance of developing an aggressive plan for rehabilitation and working with you to develop a lifestyle that reduces the risk of a second stroke.

The most important thing that you can do to reduce the risk of a second stroke is, if you smoke, stop. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, it is important to keep these under control. Obesity is another risk factor for a second stroke. Even if you are not overweight, a sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk of a second stroke.

While you are doing everything possible to reduce the risk of a second stroke, you will also begin intensive therapy to heal from the first stroke. After a stroke it is important to begin intensive therapy as soon as possible. If one side of the body is paralyzed from the stroke, passive exercise, where a medical professional moves the affected limbs, can slow the atrophy of muscles while you work to regain use of the affected areas. The longer you can continue physical therapy after a stroke, the more progress you will make. Even after progress slows, improvement will continue.

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gailhope123
Post 6

My husband had a stroke in Nov, 2013. He was given the clot buster shot within two hours. In three days, he had all his physical facilitates back. He still had the speech problems and some mental issues. He does speech therapy and does well at times, but at other times it just seems like he is so tired, he goes to bed and sleeps almost two days.

I have taken care of him with no help. I just don't know what to do when he has these tired times, and any speech he has gained disappears, and his mental ability regresses. I had taken him to the hospital last time, and the doctor said he thought it could be a seizure. In a day or so he is back to where he was. Has anyone had this experience and what do I do?

anon349642
Post 5

My Dad started feeling a strong pain on his lower back and his right leg, and now it's even worse. He is practically paralysed. Do you know of anyone who went trough the same thing? If yes, please share with me.

wander
Post 4

If you have a family history of strokes it is very important to make sure that you are as healthy as possible so that you don't suffer the same way your family members have.

Controlling things like high blood pressure and making sure you get a lot of exercise and eat right can be some of the keys to preventing strokes and stopping the pattern in your family.

My doctor has made sure that I keep my diet low-sodium and always keeps an eye on my blood pressure and blood sugars because of my family history. I believe that you can prevent a stroke before it happens if you take enough precautions.

lonelygod
Post 3

My mother suffered a minor stroke a few years ago and she had a lot of trouble getting back on her feet. Strokes are especially terrible I think, because they can rob you of your mobility and make it more difficult for you to remember things.

We helped my mother by making sure she had assistance with her movements and that she made all of her physical therapy appointments. It took her quite awhile to be able to fully use her left hand again.

As far as the memory loss went, she still has difficulty remembering things to this day and seems to have issues with mostly her long-term memory.

JaneAir
Post 2

@ceilingcat - I'm sorry to hear about your aunts. Even though rehabilitation didn't do all that much good for your one aunt it's still worth the effort in my opinion. If you don't try, then there will be no recovery. But with rehabilitation after a stroke a lot of people are able to regain function and live on their own again.

ceilingcat
Post 1

Recovery after a stroke can be a long hard road. I had two great aunts who had strokes and they both never regained full function. In fact, one of them had another stroke within the same year as the first. It made all that effort at rehabilitation seem like it was for nothing.

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