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By: Rebecca Grondin, MS, OTR/L
One in four stroke survivors suffers from another stroke; however, the signs and symptoms of stroke are the same when experiencing a stroke for the first time. Sudden changes in functioning such as difficulty speaking or muscular weakness are warning signs of a neurological event. Take the steps to reduce your risk by learning the warning signs and act F.A.S.T!
• Face – Look for one sided facial weakness by asking the person to smile and see if one side of his or her face droops.
• Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms to see if one side drifts downward.
• Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase to see if his or her speech has changed, is slurred, or sounds strange.
• Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately to get help QUICKLY.
After suffering a stroke, it’s common for the survivor to experience reduced mobility, cognitive impairments, and emotional instability; however these symptoms can lead to several other conditions that are also important to be aware of. Below you’ll find a list of these conditions and what you can do to help reduce symptoms.
• Skin breakdown and muscle contractures – Use a splint or brace in conjunction with spasticity management, stretching programs, and exercise to help prevent skin breakdown and muscle contractures.
• Blood clots – Stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle to decrease your risk of blood clots. Visit your doctor to find out more about pharmacological therapies to reduce your risk of blood clots.
• Incontinence – Talk to your doctor about different therapies to decrease incontinent episodes.
• Hemiplegic shoulder pain – Supportive slings, taping techniques, and/or electrical stimulation can decrease pain associated with hemiplegic shoulder pain.
• Depression – Speak with your doctor and/or a medical psychologist about symptoms of depression. Attend support group sessions to network with other stroke survivors.
• Increased falls – Work on balance, strength, safety, and home modifications in occupational and physical therapies to help reduce the risk of falls. It is also important to continue an exercise program after discharge from therapy to maintain and improve the level of independence.
Sheltering Arms has a robust care team dedicated to helping patients at every stage of the stroke rehabilitation process. To learn how we can help you from the hospital, to the outpatient setting and beyond, click here.