Strokes – Rehabilitation and Recoveryadmin
Approximately 700,000 strokes occur in America each year. Strokes are the leading cause of disability in adults in America and the number three cause of death. A stroke is a traumatic and life-changing event, but with proper, timely diagnosis and treatment, the lasting effects of a stroke can be minimized.
A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is limited or cut off. If the brain’s blood and oxygen flow is disrupted for even a matter of minutes, the brain tissue begins to die, resulting in an infarct. An infarct is a localized area of dead brain tissue that causes physical and chemical changes to the brain that can result in memory loss, decreased physical function to one or both sides of the body, speech difficulty or loss, or psychological limitations or impairments. The severity of the stroke determines the severity of the lasting effects. Depending on the trauma suffered, varying degrees of occupational and/or physical therapy can improve bodily functions, language capabilities, and cognitive functioning.
There are two types strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is characterized by an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain, cutting off or limiting the supply of blood to the brain. Ischemic strokes account for 87% of all stroke cases. A hemorrhagic stroke, which causes only 13% of all strokes, results from of a weakened blood vessel bursting, spilling blood into the brain. The effects of these types of strokes are equally as different as the causes. The one thing that is the same: For all stroke patients, rehabilitation is imperative.
Within 2-7 days following the onset of a stroke, patients should engage in rehabilitation to realize the most return of function and adaptation. Through the use of rehabilitation and other interventions, the natural return of functions can be hastened and the extent of neurologic damage can be limited. For more permanent physical impairments and limitations, therapy also provides a solution. Rehabilitative therapies, such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy, help patients adapt to their new limitations by teaching them new skills to continue their day-to-day activities. Although patients may not return to an optimal and completely independent way of life, many can still master their own care. These strides are greatly dependent on the therapy received and the patients’ overall drive to resume daily activities.
With early and diligent rehabilitative therapy under the direction of trusted, experienced therapists, there are great possibilities for positive outcomes for those who have suffered a stroke.