Even though strokes are highly preventable, they strike more than 795,000 people in the United States each year. The good news is that the damage that strokes cause can be reduced and sometimes reversed if treated in time. Most people who get medical attention within four hours of their stroke have significantly fewer disabilities three months later.
Dr. Luay Shayya at Neurology Consultants of Arizona specializes in treating stroke patients, identifying the source of post-stroke damage, and helping family members care for loved ones who have suffered a stroke. Count on his expertise to develop a customized plan of care for the months and years that follow a stroke.
Here are some important ways Dr. Shayya recommends to help someone who has had a stroke.
The more you know about the physical and psychological changes caused by a stroke, the more help you will be.
First, you need to know what happens during a stroke: either a clot blocks blood flow to the brain (ischemic) or a vessel responsible for getting blood to your brain ruptures (hemorrhagic). Either way, the brain is deprived of oxygen. Depending on how long the oxygen was stopped, the subsequent brain damage can be either minor or major.
You need to know the extent of the damage and what effects it has had. Some of the most common side effects of a stroke are:
Physical therapy can help restore strength
It’s important to keep moving if possible. But if spasms occur, let Dr. Shayya know right away, as medication may be necessary.
Dulled sensory perception
Because it may be difficult to feel extreme temperatures and judge distances after a stroke, you should make sure your loved one stays away from potentially dangerous situations like cooking and driving.
If the stroke damaged the left side of the brain, which is responsible for language, your loved one may have difficulty speaking, as well as understanding what you’re saying. Reading and writing may also be a challenge. Speech therapists can help restore language skills.
Lean on professionals
Dr. Shayya serves as your loved one’s primary caregiver and can help you learn how to continue that care at home. But you can’t do it alone. Depending on the severity of the brain damage, you may need a team of specialists to help your family member reclaim their quality of life to the greatest degree possible.
Some of the professionals you can (and should) count on for support, include:
- Occupational therapists, who can help restore the ability to do things around the house, including personal hygiene
- Psychologists, who can assist with issues of memory loss, grief, guilt, and family dynamics
- Physical therapists, who can improve balance, movement, strength, and coordination
- Speech pathologists, who help with communication difficulties
Adjust your home if necessary
After you’ve determined how extensive the post-stroke disabilities are, you can get a better idea of whether you need to make changes in the home. You may need to move the bed downstairs, put a grab bar in the bath or shower, or even install ramps. Whatever makes it easier for your loved one to regain a sense of independence and control will help in the rehabilitation process.
Recovering from a stroke can be a long journey, but you can help make it a successful one with the help of Dr. Shayya and our staff at Neurology Consultants of Arizona. We work with you and the whole family to devise the best plan for your unique set of circumstances. If your loved one has undergone a stroke, call our office or click the “Request Appointment” button to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.