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Living Life After a Stroke: A Guide

Did you know the third leading cause of death in America is a stroke? The heart and brain largely rely on each other to maintain functionality of the human body. The brain controls a majority of the body’s nerve signaling and range of capabilities. Your brain serves multiple purposes, but a stroke can put those vital functions at risk. Memory, emotional activity, communication, movement and physical capabilities can all be affected when the brain is not working at full potential.

What Is The Difference Between a Heart Attack and a Stroke?

A stroke and a heart attack sometimes seem similar. Both are caused from a lack of blood flow and oxygenated blood, except heart attacks attack the heart while strokes target the brain. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, sometimes because of a blood clot, it can cause a heart attack. A stroke can possibly cause brain tissue to decay and may even result in long-term disability or death.

What Causes a Stroke?

The primary cause can be anything that leads to a burst blood vessel or blocked blood supply, cutting off the oxygen flow to the brain. Several risk factors for a stroke, such as obesity and high blood pressure, can be treated or medically managed. However, as with some terminal conditions, some risk factors are more difficult to address.

Your lifestyle has a substantial influence on your health. Unhealthy choices can result in chronic illnesses with damaging long-term consequences. Almost everything that goes into your body has the potential to affect your emotional and physical well-being. For instance, highly processed fast food may possibly make you feel groggy and lethargic, while a plant-based diet can support a healthy immune system.

Some lifestyle risk factors for a stroke are:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Lack of exercise

Uncontrollable risk factors include:

  • Age: Your chances of having a stroke double every decade after the age of 55.
  • Race: Strokes affect Black and nonwhite Hispanic Americans more than white Americans.
  • Gender: Although strokes occur more often in men, women are more likely to suffer one later in life, putting them at higher danger of nonrecovery.
  • Family history: Some stroke cases are more likely to happen within families that already carry genetic disorders.

Even if you are taking great care of your body and do not have any genetic risk factors, you can still be at risk due to:

  • Geography: Strokes occur more in southeastern America than in the rest of the country, possibly due to elements of the regional culture such as diet and smoking practices.
  • Climate: Extreme temperatures increase the chances of a possible stroke.
  • Social and economic circumstances: Some evidence suggests that strokes are more common in low-income communities.

What is the Treatment for a Stroke?

In order to treat a stroke, doctors must determine the causes of the symptoms through a CT scan or other test. Stroke tests range from simple blood analysis and physical analysis to more complex procedures such as echocardiograms, MRI scans, carotid ultrasounds, or cerebral angiograms. About 25% of stroke survivors suffer a second stroke, making immediate treatment crucial.

Some steps to help stroke victims recover include monitoring medications, ensuring a healthy diet, being on the lookout for dizziness or imbalance, seeking support and therapy, and keeping the brain active. It’s imperative to remember that recovery from a traumatic brain injury such as a stroke takes time.

Stroke recovery can be a long-term process. Therefore, it’s important to understand how the body is affected. Consult the accompanying infographic for more information on brain recovery as well as stroke-prevention habits to incorporate into daily life.

Infographic provided by Family Home Health Services


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