Stroke Symptoms and Treatment (cont.)

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Is recovery after a stroke possible?

The ability to intervene in the acute stroke and to try to restore blood supply to brain tissue increases the likelihood that stroke victims can be rescued and brain damage minimized.

In patients who have physical, mental, and emotional deficits because of the stroke, rehabilitation offers hope of increased function and return to the level of activity that they had prior to the stroke.

Again, the best treatment for stroke is prevention and minimizing risk factors for not only stroke but for heart attack and peripheral vascular disease (PAD).

What is stroke rehabilitation?

The purpose of rehabilitation is to return the stroke patient as close as possible to their life and level of function before the stroke. The success of that goal depends upon the underlying health of the patient and severity of the stroke.

Rehabilitation may take weeks and months and usually requires a team approach for success. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists will coordinate care with the primary health care professional and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists.

Some of the treatments are directed to prevent life-threatening complications. For example, speech pathologists may help with swallowing to prevent aspiration pneumonia. Physical therapists may concentrate on strength and balance to prevent falls. Occupational therapists may find ways to allow the patient to perform daily activities from personal hygiene to cooking in the kitchen.

Many patients with significant stroke deficits may require admission to a rehabilitation hospital and/or longer term nursing facility prior to returning home. Unfortunately, some patients will have had too severe a stroke to be offered that opportunity.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2013

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