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Recovery time after a stroke is different for everyone—it can take weeks, months, or even years. Some people recover fully, but others have long-term or lifelong disabilities. Rehabilitation or in short rehab often begins in the hospital, within a day or two after the stroke. Rehab helps to ease the transition from hospital to home and can help prevent the occurrence of another stroke.
Generally, a stroke happens when the blood vessel in the brain is blocked causing insufficient blood flow to the brain cells. When the brain cells do not receive enough nutrients and oxygen, they die off. There are 3 types of stroke:
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke which is likely caused by high blood cholesterol levels. A cholesterol plaque is formed inside the blood vessels supplying the brain. Over time, the plaque gets bigger and the blood supply to the brain gets clogged or cut off completely.
Commonly caused by uncontrollably high blood pressure. The blood vessel breaks open and starts bleeding into or around the brain tissues. This can lead to increased pressure buildup within the enclosed skull space, causing damage to the brain. Also, blood surrounding the brain tissue can be a source of irritants can causing the tissues to swell.
It happens when the blood flow to the brain is blocked temporarily. It is a milder version of a stroke that does not damage the brain and the symptoms only last for a short amount of time. With that being said, people who experience TIA must receive medical attention as they are at higher risk for future ischemic stroke. Medical treatment should be initiated to prevent a future stroke from happening.
The common symptoms would be:
Read about First Aid for Stroke.
If you have had a stroke, you can make great progress in regaining your independence. However, some problems may continue:
It will be a great mistake to regard stroke as a one-off event. If you have had a stroke, you are at high risk for another stroke. That’s why it is important to treat the causes of stroke, which includes
Different types of stroke are treated differently.
Many people who have had a stroke or TIA take 3 medicines or more. That might seem like a lot, but each of them does a different job.
If the CT scan or MRI shows a hemorrhagic stroke, your doctor might:
Some people are also treated with surgery, depending on the severity of the symptoms and other factors such as other underlying medical conditions. Doctors can do surgery to:
In the long run, physiotherapy is also provided to stroke survivors to help them regain mobility, increase muscle strength and prevent muscle wasting.
Here are just a few examples of how rehabilitation services could help you:
The chances of making a full recovery depend on a lot of factors, such as:
Scientists used to think that when a part of the brain was damaged, there was no way to recover what was lost. It turns out that is not true. The brain can adapt and recover some functions. The most important thing you can do to help make this happen is to stick with rehab and do all the exercises and therapies your healthcare team recommends. Also, be patient. It takes time to heal and learn new ways to cope, but hard work and patience will pay off.
Other than taking medicines as instructed by your doctor, it is also important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits.
Stroke is a serious health issue, and recovery can take a lot of time, effort, and patience. You must take whatever medications are prescribed to you by your doctor, exactly as directed. Do not forget to adopt and maintain good lifestyle habits, as they greatly decrease the risk of getting another stroke.
Medically reviewed by Ashwini Nair, MB BCh BAO.
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