The number of people having a stroke in Canada is increasing each year and it’s not just the elderly who are at risk. In practice we are seeing more and more young people surviving a stroke. Some stroke statistics:
1. WHAT IS A STROKE?
Stroke is a “brain attack” caused by a disturbance of the blood supply to the brain.
2. TYPES OF STROKE
There are two main types of stroke. ISCHAEMIC STROKE is the most common. It’s caused by a clot narrowing, or blocking blood vessels so that the blood cannot reach a particular area of the brain. The lack of oxygen supply leads to the death of brain cells. HAEMORRHAGIC STROKE occurs when a weakened blood vessel in the brain bursts. This produces bleeding in the brain and therefore, damage. Sometimes surgery is necessary in these cases. MINI STROKE – also known as TIA (TRANSIENT ISCHAEMIC ATTACK) – is similar to a stroke and has the same signs, but gets better within 24 hours. However, it must be seen as a warning sign of a more serious stroke in the future and must also be treated as a medical emergency.
3. SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE
By being aware of the signs and symptoms of a stroke, you could save the life of a family member, a friend or someone in your community. ACT F.A.S.T!
FACE – can the person smile? Is one side of the face drooping?
ARMS – can the person raise both arms?
SPEECH – is their speech slurred?
TIME – time to call 911 right away if you see any one of these signs.
Act FAST because the quicker you act, the more completely the person may be able to recover!
4. RISK FACTORS
Medical conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, diabetes.Lifestyle: smoking, physical inactivity, being overweight, poor diet, stress.
5. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A STROKE?
Depending on the area of the brain affected and the type of stroke, patients will have different results. The most common physical effect, and the one best known to the public, is decreased mobility of one side of the body. As with any brain injury, patients will present generalized fatigue and decreased ability to cope with everyday activities. Patients may also have speech and cognitive impairments that can be addressed in a multidisciplinary treatment approach.
6. HOW CAN A PHYSIOTHERAPIST HELP A STROKE SURVIVOR?
Physiotherapy looks at the physical aspects of health. A Registered Physiotherapist can help stroke survivors increase their mobility, independence and overall endurance. A Registered Physiotherapist will perform a complete assessment to understand the impairments and functional mobility status and will tailor a rehabilitation program. Reducing the risk of falls, and making the person safer and able to move independently, are primary goals after a stroke. We can help you to live well!