Stroke Symptoms and Treatment (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for stroke?

Stroke remains a major killer in the United States and worldwide. In the U.S., 20% of stroke patients will die within a year. However, with the ability to intervene with thrombolytic therapy to reverse the stroke and with more aggressive rehabilitation, the goal is to increase patient survival and function after recovery.

Specialized stroke centers, hospitals that have the doctors, equipment, and resources to intervene quickly and treat strokes aggressively have shown to increase stroke survival and patient function and recovery. These hospitals are certified by The Joint Commission, the American Stroke Association, and the health departments of some states. It is to your advantage to know which hospitals in your area are designated stroke centers because they will have the specialists and equipment needed to minimize diagnosis to treatment times.

There are many complications for stroke patients and the majority cannot return to full employment because of disability. Patients are affected physically with decreased body function, mentally with decreased cognition, and emotionally with depression and anxiety.

The return to function depends upon the severity of the stroke, what parts of the brain and body have stopped working, and what complications develop. Patients who lose their ability to swallow may develop aspiration pneumonia when food or saliva is inhaled into the lungs causing infection. Patients who have difficulty moving can develop pressure sores and infection due to skin breakdown.

Seizures may be a complication in up to 10% of patients. The more severe the stroke, the more likely that seizures may develop.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2013

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