A stroke is a condition in which the brain is deprived of the required blood supply or there is a blood clot formation in a blood vessel in the brain. Strokes can be either caused by internal bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke) or by inadequate blood flow, which can also lead to the death of healthy brain cells. In some cases, the stroke may affect a person for only a short span of time; this is known TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack. It is caused by an abrupt interruption to the blood flow, which is momentary. Such a condition provides a caution sign for any forthcoming stroke.
The symptoms which occur just after or precede an attack include the following:
- The person cannot speak properly, as the speech may be slurred. He/she may also have difficulties in understanding if spoken to.
- Sudden daze may cause movements which lack in coordination and balance.
- A feeling of confusion and disorientation (often leading to unconsciousness) may add to the symptoms. Severe headaches may also occur, along with vomiting.
- The leg, face, or arm may freeze all of a sudden as they may be struck by numbness or paralysis. While talking, the mouth or a side of the face might droop during the attack.
- In one or both eyes, the vision may be darkened or foggy as the stroke develops. Visual acuity is affected as the victim may have double or one-sided vision.
Stroke can have various effects on the victim’s life. However, with proper care, management, and treatment, you can recover from it.
Here are the facts you need to know.
A stroke can cause initial disabilities. However, your ability to get back to your normal life depends on:
- The side of the brain that was affected. Was it the dominant side?
- The part of the brain that was damaged by the effects of the stroke.
- The amount of brain that was damaged.
- The condition of your health before the occurrence of stroke.
- Whether or not paralysis was present and, if paralysis was present, which side the paralysis presented on.
- The length of the episode. Was it short or prolonged?
It is also important to note that certain impairments and effects after the occurrence of the stroke can set in immediately. However, the recovery depends on the above factors and the primary diagnosis made by the doctor. Any kind of stroke is a critical emergency; hence, there should not be any delay in seeking medical attention.
Risk factors like hypertension, previous heart surgery or disease, sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, excessive smoking, and high cholesterol content in the blood should be checked. Such underlying conditions may cause a hindrance in the normal procedures for the treatment of a stroke.
The following are common impairments that usually set in after a stroke:
- Weaknesses that occur on one side of the victim’s body: Such weakness ends up causing difficulties to a person when it comes to walking, doing daily chores, or grasping objects. It is important to note that the side of the body that will be affected is opposite to the affected side of the brain. If the left side of the body is affected, then the right brain hemisphere has taken the blow from the stroke and vice versa.
- Joint pain and rigidity: The victim with a weak arm will experience a shoulder pain as a result of a tight or locked-up joint after a stroke.
- Muscle stiffness and spasms: Muscle stiffness, also known as spasticity, requires certain medications to prevent nerve reactions if you have been through a stroke.
- Insensitivity: If you have been through a stroke, you will have problems with the sense of touch, such as the inability to feel if something is hot or cold. You may also have problems judging the position of parts of your body.
- Some pain, numbness, and tingling of the limbs: You might also experience some pain and numbness in certain parts of the body. Such rigidity, pain, and numbness may stay a long time after the first episode of this condition.
- Trouble with body coordination and balance during body movements: This is another impairment that is associated with stroke victims.
- Difficulty when swallowing and eating: This is also known as dysphasia.
Other stroke-related issues
After a stroke, you might experience difficulties with urinary incontinence and difficulties when emptying the bladder. In some cases, a victim will experience constipation problems and difficulties in controlling the bowel movements. This can make somebody feel very embarrassed. With proper management, these issues can be reversed.
Other problems a stroke victim will encounter include:
- Speech recognition and other language-related problems
- Memory problems, as well as cognitive problems
- Problems with perception
- Problems with vision
- Emotional problems: These are problems that relate to fear, anxiety, frustration, grief, and anger. If a victim suffers from depression, it is advisable to seek treatment for it, as it can worsen with the condition and make recovery difficult.
The problems may be dependent upon the type of stroke the patient has suffered, so it is not possible to classify all the symptoms which may come about.
Recovering from stroke
Your brain is one of the most important body organs in the body. In fact, it has the ability to rewire itself to some degree. This means that areas that have been affected by stroke can normally work again. Also, those areas that have not been damaged by a stroke can perform the tasks of the damaged parts. Therefore, if you have been through a stroke, do not be stressed. You can recover and regain what has been lost. All that is needed is patience, adhering to your doctor's instructions, and sometimes prayer and hope.
Dealing with a stroke can take some time and resources. Rehabilitation and psychiatric evaluation from time to time should not be avoided. A well devised treatment plan and a strong will can do wonders in treating this evil of a disease. Also, one should get proper support from family and loved ones, because that’s what makes all of the difference at the end of the day.