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How to deal with a stroke

Stroke, also called ‘brain attack’is a condition caused when the blood supply to the brain is compromised. When the blood supply to the brain is decreased, it results in nutrition and oxygen depletion to the brain and therefore causes death of the brain cells. Read on to know how to deal with it. Get support Stroke can very debilitating. It raises a lot of questions in the patient and family members’ minds about the independence of the patient’s everyday life activities. It is important to improve the emotional and physical well-being of the patient. Stroke, like death, represents a catastrophic personal loss. There is a lot of emotional turmoil for the patients and it can be very devastating for the patient and the family. Patients usually go into depression, they also show strong emotions like anger and frustration. The only way to get beyond feeling these emotions is to seek medical attention, visit a clinical psychiatrist who will prescribe antidepressants and do counseling. Gradually with the love and support of the friends, family and rehabilitation team, stroke patients recover from the pain and suffering. Don’t be afraid to accept help from the people who care about you.

Stay active Depression can delay your recovery. So, try to be active as much as you can. This relieves stress from your mind. If you are in a rehab, then take full advantage of it because there will be a lot of people around you to help you overcome a problem. Make everybody aware of your presence in the real world. Watch news and discuss, if language isn’t a barrier. Watch sitcoms. Listen to radio and music. Put up pictures of friends and family. Looking through photos with the patient is mentally stimulating. Go for a walk/ride throughout the facility with somebody’s help. So, enjoy every bit of life and never stay back.

Change your lifestyle Lifestyle plays a major role in stroke. Stressful job, eating, drinking alcohol, all these are causes for stroke. Change your diet. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and little red meat. Reduce salt consumption, do not smoke and reduced alcohol intake to well below ‘government safe levels’. Make sure your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are normal. If you have problem maintaining them, then consult your physician and control them with medication. Exercise regularly. There is no question about the benefits of safe exercise for the stroke survivor. In the early stages of recovery you can go for Tai Chi, yoga. It combines exercise and meditation and can be done seated or standing. Walking (in a group for safety purposes) is good exercise as is swimming. All these activities provide social benefits by making one get out and meet other people.

Take various forms of therapy Stroke cannot be completely treated with just medicines or just one form of therapy. There needs to be a team approach to deal with it. A rehabilitation team will help you in the best way. A rehab team consists of doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychiatrist, counselor. Physiotherapists may focus on weakness of the muscles, tone, sensory aspects, balance, posture etc, to help the patients achieve independent mobility, but need to work closely with occupational therapists to achieve this. Occupational therapists train the stroke patients to achieve independence in daily living activities like personal care, wearing clothes, domestic activities and also work related activities. He must also work together with the physio for achieving his task. Speech therapists deal with speech, communication other oro-motor abilities like chewing, swallowing. Nurses take care of the bowel and bladder function. They work more with the patients and family than any other team members. A neuropsychologist plays an important role in stroke rehabilitation. Stroke patients have cognitive defects commonly. They include difficulty in problem solving, memory, attention, other personality changes. A neuropsychologist assesses all these problems and helps the stroke patient overcome them through therapy. A rehabilitation physician is the person who leads the rehab team and works closely with the nurses.

Carers Carers are the most important persons to be mentioned when dealing with stroke patients. It is they who constantly bear the burden, especially if the patient is suffering from behavioral problems, dementia or other cognitive problems. The life and improvement of the patient’s health depend on the carer. They constantly motivate the patient, take care of their daily needs and help them survive stroke.

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