JEFFERSON, Iowa - Stroke rehabilitation is a very important part of recovery for many people. The goal is to help you learn how to do things that you did before the stroke. It helps build your strength and coordination and you may learn how to move, talk, think and care for yourself.
Your doctor will be able to determine whether you need stroke rehab and what specific type would help you. Your doctor may order physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy and your nurses will help you on this journey as well. Most people who have had a stroke will improve. Some improvements happen automatically as the brain is healing. For the rest, how fast and how much you improve depends on the severity of your stroke. Rehab can begin right after the stroke is over and you are stable. Staff will work with you as your body relearns how to do things. Your cooperation is needed for a lot of the exercises and therapy.
Because people who have had a stroke are at risk of having another one, you should learn the risk factors and try to eliminate as many of them as possible.
Risk factors include:
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries as we a
High blood pressure
High cholesterol level
Previous stroke or TIA
Carotid artery disease (hardening of the artery that carries blood to your brain)
Your doctor can help you with the control of risk factors. For that reason, it is important you have regular checkups and take any prescribed medication as directed.
Emotional changes may occur from a stroke because of brain injury and loss of function. Soon after a stroke, your moods may go up and down more quickly than before or you may become depressed. You may suddenly start crying and then quickly stop, or you may start laughing for no reason. It is understandable if you feel depressed, sad or frustrated while you are getting used to the changes in your body. Emotional changes normally get better with time and can be treated. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
A stroke can affect your mobility, vision, thinking and communication skills. Your reaction time may be slowed, and because of this, you and your doctor will decide when and if it is safe for you to drive. You may receive a driver assessment, classroom instruction and suggestions for modifying your vehicle. Remember, safety for yourself and others is the most important thing.
Making sure you have a good support team is also important. Family and friends can be involved in your rehabilitation therapy and learn how they can best help you recover. Before you leave the hospital, the therapy departments involved with your care, as well as the social worker, will help you and your family plan how to meet your needs. They will also assist with getting any equipment you might need, such as a walker or cane.
Why are rehabilitation and risk factors important?
Rehabilitation and reductions of risk factors will help you regain your health, prevent further strokes and help you live with any limitations you might have as a result of your stroke.