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Stroke is a cardiovascular disease. It affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. When blood flow to the brain is impaired, oxygen and important nutrients cannot be delivered. The result is abnormal brain function. Blood flow to the brain can be disrupted by either a blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain. There are many causes for a stroke. This is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment could mean the difference between life and death. Early treatment can also minimize damage to your brain and potential disability.

Coping skills

Stroke survivors who can go home to a healthy spouse or other companion are more likely to become independent and productive again. Encouragement and early treatment are important.

Recovery and rehabilitation depend on the area of the brain involved and the amount of tissue damaged. Harm to the right side of the brain may impair movement and sensation on the left side of the body. Damage to brain tissue on the left side may affect movement on the right side; this damage may also cause speech and language disorders. In addition, people who've had a stroke may have problems with breathing, swallowing, balancing and hearing, and loss of vision and bladder or bowel function.

In addition to the various physical side effects, stroke survivors commonly become depressed. They may feel helpless, frustrated and uninterested in activities they once enjoyed. Diminished sex drive, mood changes and thoughts of suicide aren't unusual.

If you have a stroke, you'll work with a professional team. This team can include a:

  • Rehabilitation doctor

  • Nurse

  • Dietitian

  • Physical therapist

  • Occupational therapist

  • Recreational therapist

  • Speech therapist

  • Social worker

  • Psychologist or psychiatrist

Rehabilitation can be mentally exhausting for you and for the people closest to you. Tell your family members and friends not to take it personally if you become emotional or angry. Recovering from a stroke can be frustrating.

The process can also be frustrating for close family members and friends. Lack of knowledge or experience in stroke recovery can make it difficult to be around someone who has had a stroke and has trouble communicating. But, if someone close to you has had a stroke, you can play an important role in the recovery process. Here are some tips to help you communicate with someone whose speech has been affected by a stroke:

  • Stay in touch. Your friend or family member needs you but might not be able to tell you so. Make an effort to be there.

  • Keep conversation at an adult level. Address stroke survivors directly and don't talk down to them. Treat them just as you did before the stroke. Because someone has had a stroke doesn't mean he or she can't think anymore.

  • Use a normal tone of voice. Unless there's a hearing loss, you don't need to speak more loudly than usual.

  • Speak at a comfortable pace. Allow time for your words to be processed. Try to talk about only one topic at a time.

  • Avoid distractions. Reduce background noise and distractions from TVs, radios and physical activities.

  • Talk one-on-one. A stroke survivor may understand best when the conversation includes fewer people.

  • Keep caregivers in mind. They need support and friendship, too. Include them in your thoughts and plans.

Although stroke-related disabilities can be permanent, many people lead active lives after a stroke. Many are able to resume everyday life and responsibilities.

Stroke > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Two drops of blood under a specialized high powered ultra-dark field microscope, reveals anomalies in the blood. The unique tool for prevention.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:20 AM