What to Expect after a Stroke
Having a stroke can be a life-altering event. The effects of ones stroke may seem significant now, but it is important to remember that the first year of recovery is critical in order to regain strength and return to prior functional levels. Extensive rehabilitation consisting of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy will be necessary as will the love, compassion, and patience from family members and caregivers.
Approximately 795,000 Americans are affected by
a new or recurrent stroke each year. That leads to
about 2.2 million stroke caregivers in the U.S.
– American Stroke Association
Common Signs and Symptoms include:
- Facial drooping
- Arm weakness
- Slurred speech
- Weakness on one side of body(hemiparesis)
- Visual field deficits
- Difficulty swallowing
- Personality changes
Left Hemisphere Deficits:
- Right-sided paralysis
- Difficulty with speech or comprehending words (aphasia)
- Broca’s aphasia -> difficulty expressing words
- Wernicke’s aphasia->difficulty understanding and answers with words that are irrelevant to questions asked
- Poor coordination and muscle initiation (apraxia)
- Inability to swallow (dysphagia)
- Cautious behavior
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty sequencing events
Right Hemisphere Deficits:
- Left-sided paralysis
- Impulsive behavior
- Irritability and confusion
- Minimizes their diagnosis
- Difficulty grasping the whole idea
- Safety concerns
Future Treatments to Consider
Constraint Induced Movement Therapy: restraint of unaffected limb for majority of the day for two weeks in combination with specific training of affected limb; forces patient to use hemiplegic arm to regain function.
Mirror Box Therapy: patient performs motor activity of unaffected limb in a mirror box, which superimposes an image of movement of the affected extremity. This sends visual stimuli to the brain and assists in neuronal regeneration.
Wii Therapy: virtual reality video gaming provides auditory and visual feedback from the TV screen and tactile information from the controller. Studies have shown that Wii therapy promotes motor recovery in a safe, organized and fun environment.
The American Stroke Association:
National Stroke Association
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