A stroke is one of the most life-threatening medical conditions and can cause serious harm to a person’s body and mind. It is caused by a sudden interruption of blood supply to an area of the brain, resulting in cell death. To best treat stroke patients, it is important to understand the different types of stroke and how each requires a different approach.
An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot blocks an artery leading to the brain. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching brain cells, causing them to die due to a lack of nutrients and oxygen. Treatment for this type of stroke typically includes managing risk factors that may put someone at higher risk, taking medications such as anticoagulants or thrombolytics, and possibly surgical removal of the clot if it can be done safely.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain ruptures or leaks. The pressure within this damaged vessel causes bleeding within or around the brain tissue, which can cause swelling and increased pressure on surrounding areas. A hemorrhagic stroke must be treated quickly with medications such as diuretics or antihypertensives that reduce swelling and manage high blood pressure. The patient may also need surgery to remove or repair the damaged vessel.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as a “mini-stroke” involves a temporary blockage of an artery that supplies blood to part of the brain. However, no permanent damage occurs as the blockage dissipates quickly. While TIAs do not require similar medical interventions as full strokes, it is still important to identify any potential risk factors that could lead to future issues such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking or tobacco use.
Lifestyle Changes After Stroke
It is common for those who have had a stroke to make lifestyle changes, including dietary changes and physical activity modifications in order to prevent future incidents. Eating a healthy balanced diet low in saturated fats and processed foods while getting regular exercise are key components for reducing further problems down the line. However, numerous research studies have found that stress management techniques are equally important after having had a stroke. Meditation and relaxation exercises can help patients recover both physically and mentally from their experience, with a better quality of life overall.
For patients with dysphagia after a stroke, special rehabilitation will be needed, with a focus on making eating and drinking easier. Look for thickening agents to help minimize the risk of aspiration. Thickeners that turn liquids into a pudding consistency from SimplyThick make liquids easier to swallow risk-free.
Rehabilitation services offer therapies designed towards helping individuals affected learn how best to cope with any disabilities caused by their condition. These services may include occupational therapy for learning how to perform tasks required on a daily basis such as dressing themselves or preparing food, or physical therapy aimed at regaining strength in weakened muscles. Speech and language therapy focused on building cognitive skills back up can help patients return to normal life activities again.
Though suffering from even just one major episode involving a stroke can be devastating both physically and psychologically, there are treatments available depending on what type was experienced.