No two stroke recoveries are the same

No two stroke recoveries are the same

You’re likely familiar with the warning signs of stroke. You may even know what the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T.* stands for.

But what many people don’t know is that strokes are not created equal.

Depending on the type, size and location of a stroke, recovery can look quite different from patient to patient. Some people may recover in the subsequent weeks after suffering a stroke. But for others, it could take months – or even years.

A stroke is characterized by a blockage in a blood vessel or bleeding vessels in the brain. When this happens, the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. The area of the brain affected by a stroke will stop working, so the symptoms that a patient experiences depends on what area of the brain is affected. Strokes most commonly cause speech problems, weakness, numbness, balance difficulties and vision problems. Some people may need to relearn how to speak, eat or walk all over again.

Regardless of the severity of a stroke’s impact on an individual, beginning rehabilitation as soon as possible is a critical component of recovery. The American Stroke Association offers six recovery tips for stroke survivors and caregivers:

  1. Meet with your doctor to create a care plan for your stroke recovery
  2. Work with your doctor on lifestyle changes
  3. Once a doctor signs off, begin your rehabilitation right away
  4. Ask for recommendations of local rehabs
  5. Ask for resources such as financial assistance or community support groups
  6. Touch base with your doctor regularly

When it comes to strokes, every second counts. Identifying signs and acting immediately to seek care is critical. If proper treatment is administered quickly, damage to the brain can be minimized.

*B.E.F.A.S.T. = Balance (loss of coordination), Eyes (have trouble seeing), facial drooping (one-sided face droop), arm weakness (a raised arm drifts downward), speech difficulty (slurred or strange), Terrible Headache (sudden severe pain). If you experience any of these symptoms it is time to call 911.

Dr. Thomas Wolfe is a neurologist at Aurora Medical Center – Summit.

Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a free online quiz here. 

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Dr. Thomas Wolfe