Every stroke patient require proper stroke management with physiotherapy for better recovery. A stroke is a serious and life threatening medical condition that occurs after blood supply to part of the brain is obstructed. Just like every other organ in the body, the brain needs blood which is rich in oxygen and nutrients, to function maximally. When this does not happen, it can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
The brain being the most complex organ in the body, is involved in the control of majority of our actions, both voluntary and involuntary like movement, emotions, temperature, etc. Minor damage to any part of the brain can have a serious adverse effect on the rest of the body.
According to WHO, stroke is a neurological deficit of cerebrovascular cause that persists beyond 24hours or is interrupted by death. There are different types of strokes that can occur and proper timely treatment can save the patient’s life when stroke occurs. The best and most effective treatment of stroke is in the hospital setting and involves both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical therapies, of which physiotherapy is a major component. Most people can survive a first stroke but often have have significant morbidity.
Some Quick Facts
- A stroke is usually caused by blockage of blood artery supplying a part of the brain (ischaemic stroke) or the rupture of an artery in the brain (haemorrhagic stroke).
- Ischaemic strokes occur more frequently than haemorrhagic stroke and accounts for about 85% of strokes.
- According to centers for disease control and prevention, over a third of people who experience a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) have a major stroke within a year if they have not received any treatment. Between 10 and 15% of people will have a major stroke within three months of a TIA.
- Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.
- A stroke happens every 40secs.
- Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke.
- Up to 80% of stroke can be prevented.
- Current prevalence of stroke in Nigeria is 1.14 per 1000 while the 30-day case fatality rate is as high as 40%.
Risk Factors For Strokes
Some stroke risk factors can’t be controlled. These include gender, age and family history. However, many stroke risk factors are lifestyle related. Everyone can reduce their risk of having a stroke by making a few simple lifestyle changes. Lifestyle-related factors that increase your risk of stroke include:
- high blood pressure
- cigarette smoking
- high blood cholesterol levels
- heavy drinking
- a diet high in fat (particularly saturated) and salt, but low in fibre, fruit and vegetables
- lack of regular exercise
Another important risk factor, particularly as you get older, includes atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). Overall risk increases when multiple risk factors are present.
Stoke Management With Physiotherapy
Stroke management with physiotherapy is very effective and key to better outcomes for a patient with stroke. Research suggests early mobilization within 24hours of stroke improves the outcome of patients. A minimum session of 45 minutes per day, five days a week is the recommended schedule. Physiotherapy enables people to relearn lost abilities, regain independence and reduce the risk of further strokes.
Goals of Physiotherapy For Stroke Patients
Your physiotherapist will work hand in hand with you to ensure that you achieve these goals. Most patients are able to achieve these targets and you too can make it happen. Just stay positive as you engage in your physiotherapy sessions.
The goals of stroke management with physiotherapy for patients are to :
- Alleviate any pain in shoulder, arm or any other part of the body.
- Make patient as mobile on bed as possible.
- Educate patient’s family on the condition and how to mobilise the patient in bed, and changing positions and postures.
- Prepare patient for further ambulation.
- Improve muscle strength and endurance.
- Preserve physical properties of muscles.
- Improve balance and coordination.
- Prevent further deformities.
- Improve general health and maximize movement.
- Help patient return to the best of his physical abilities.
- Incorporate patient back into the society (work, pleasure, worship centre, social gathering, access basic facilities).
Helpful Tips For Stroke Patients
Rehabilitation is a crucial component of care following a stroke. At some stroke centres or hospitals, rehabilitation begins virtually immediately after a patient’s admission to the hospital. In order to make recovery faster and have the best possible outcomes, do the following :
- Seek urgent care.
- Always keep your written medical information with you, as stroke can affect your speech.
- Choose a proper, registered and approved rehabilitation centre with certified health providers.
- Eat well and healthy.
- Comply with your health providers and caregivers.
- Exercise, but know your limit.
- Limit stress.
- Sleep well.
- Stay positive.
- Do your ward or home programs as prescribed to you by your therapist.
- Stay vigilant, as stroke can reoccur.
- Be well informed concerning your condition.
- Better Health – stroke risk factors and prevention
- Intercollegiate stroke working party “National clinical guildlines for stroke” 3rd edition London: RCP 2008
- Donna GA, Fisher M, McLeod M, Davis SM(may, 2008). “stroke“, Lancet. 371 (9624): 1612-23
- World health organization (1978). Cerebrovascular Disorders (offset publications). Geneva: world health organization. ISBN 978-92-4-1-170043-6. OCLC 4757533
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