According to the American Stroke Association, “stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.” The good news is that many of the risk factors that may put someone at danger for a stroke can be mitigated by lifestyle changes or through managing other medical conditions. It is important to talk to your doctor to determine your current odds of a stroke and what steps you can take to help reduce any risk.
A stroke happens when a part of the brain is deprived of oxygen because of a blood clot causing blockage or rupture in a blood vessel. There are three common types of strokes:
A number of organizations use the acronym FAST to help identify symptoms of a possible stroke. If you notice any of the following signs in yourself or others, it is important to call 911 immediately. Quick medical intervention is critical in helping to reduce the risk of death or disability.
Other symptoms may include trouble with eyesight, a severe headache, and loss of balance and coordination.
A stroke is always an emergency and should be treated at a hospital. Upon arrival, a brain scan will be done for diagnosis and identification of the type of stroke that has occurred.
After diagnosis, medications that break up blood clots are often administered to stabilize stroke patients. Various procedures and surgical intervention may be necessary depending on the type of stroke and how it has affected the brain.
Once a patient is stabilized and is able to be discharged from the hospital, rehabilitation may be needed to help regain functioning. Rehabilitation needs are highly personal and vary from person to person depending on which abilities have been impacted by the stroke episode. Some people may require only minimal rehabilitation intervention while others may need months of in-patient care.
The following rehabilitation therapies may be used:
When choosing a rehabilitation facility, it is important to make sure that it is able to meet all of your loved one’s needs. Ask if they have a specific stroke treatment program, when it began, and how many patients they see come through the program.
Your doctor should evaluate your risk of stroke and offer guidelines on lifestyle changes that can reduce the possibility of a stroke recurring or happening in the first place. Some things that they may suggest include:
Knowing what a stroke is, the signs and symptoms, and your personal risk factors can help prevent a stroke or help you quickly identify when emergency intervention is needed. If you or a loved one needs care after a stroke, please call Abramson care managers at 215.371.3400. A care manager is available to speak 24 hours a day, seven days a week.