Secrets of Stroke Survivors
No one said bouncing back from a stroke is easy,but it is possible.
A stroke strikes swiftly and suddenly and can hit anyone at any age. It occurs when a blood vessel breaks or a blood clot blocks an artery, preventing blood from reaching part of the brain. The side effects can be serious.
"Stroke survivors may suffer paralysis or the inability to communicate or think clearly," says Daniela Rusovici, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Parrish Medical Center. "It can be devastating, but there is a lot of hope for recovery."
So what can you do to bounce back after a stroke?
Secret No. 1: Be Active
The most important thing you can do after a stroke is go to rehabilitation. "Getting therapy early and sustaining it over time has demonstrated tremendous benefits," Dr. Rusovici says.
Rehab is your ticket to reclaiming your life and returning to independent living. Work with your doctor to determine the best strategy and stick to it, even when the going gets tough, which it will. And that leads us to
Secret No. 1: Be Hopeful
Never leave home without a little hope. It's a good lesson for all of us, but particularly stroke survivors and their loved ones. "Stroke recovery takes a community of support," Dr. Rusovici says. "And hope is a message reinforced by family members and caregivers."
Some people were simply born more optimistic than others, but you may find it challenging to hang on to your hopefulness. If you notice signs of depression, speak up. It's normal, but you don't have to let it hinder the healing process.
Secret No. 1: Be Determined
Another tool to put in your stroke recovery toolbox: determination.
Think about how frustrating it can be to learn a new skill or sport. Now take that and double it, and that's what it's like to relearn, for example, how to walk or talk after a stroke, Dr. Rusovici says. "Difficult things require hard work," she says. "The same is true after stroke. It takes a lot of effort and practice, but you can recover."
Set short-term and long-term goals for your recovery and celebrate when you reach these milestones.
Secret No. 1: Be Proactive
Unfortunately, the truth is that you are 40 percent more likely to have another stroke within five years of your first. Fight the odds by controlling your risk factors.
If you have a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, get treated and keep your numbers in check. Make sure any heart conditions are being managed and monitored by your physician, and if you smoke, quit. Lastly, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising. If you have been prescribed medications after your stroke, make sure you take them correctly.
Remember, recovery can be lengthy and challenging,but there is life after stroke.
Get Help from an Expert
Daniela Rusovici, MD, PhD, practices general neurology and has an interest in headaches, brain and spinal tumors, brain injuries, restless legs syndrome and insomnia. She is seeing patients at the Parrish Healthcare Center at Port St. John. Call 321-268-6PMG (6764) for an appointment.