A Stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain blocks or when a blood vessel ruptures or bursts leading to poor supply of blood and oxygen to part of the brain. if this part of the brain is deprived of oxygen for a long time, the brain tissue dies
Time is important in a stroke and the earlier treatment starts the better it is for the person who has the stroke
Signs of a stroke
Depending on the severity of a stroke, there may be symptoms that may be very obvious or not be at all, the most severe signs may be unconsciousness
But, there is an acronym known as FAST to help you quickly identify the common signs of a stroke and act accordingly
- Face: Is their face numb or does it drop to one side, is their smile lopsided?
- Arms: Ask them to raise both arms, is one arm weaker than the other, does one arm fall lower than the other?
- Speech: When they talk, are they slurred or unclear?
- Time: If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please ACT FAST, rush them to the hospital or call the emergency services.
Other symptoms may include
- Blurry vision.
- Numbness on one side of the body or one limb
- Involuntarily urinating or losing control of one’s bladder
Time is of the essence, and the best outcomes are gotten if the drugs that breakdown the clot in the brain are given within 4.5 hours or brain cells start to die, which may lead to an irreversible disability
You can make sure that they are in a comfortable position, lying on one side with their head slightly raised,
The recovery process from stroke depends on how fast the person got treatment from a stroke and if they had other medical conditions also that may impair treatment
After the hospital, they may need to stay for days even weeks depending on the severity of the stroke, after that, they go into rehabilitation, this is where we try to make sure that they regain muscle control and strength.
This can be done in the hospital or as an outpatient if complications are not severe
The goals of rehabilitation are:
- strengthen muscle
- improve mobility of the limbs
- encourage mobility in the affected limb or limbs by trying to limit the use of the limbs that were not affected by the stroke
- release or ease tension in the muscle
Things You should know as a caregiver
Your job as a caregiver can be quite daunting and challenging given the expectations and the support that may be required of you in helping them recover
You are also supposed to help in preventing future episodes because the next stroke is usually worse than the former and the chances of recovery are slimmer with each stroke
Your responsibilities as a caregiver will include
- evaluating treatment options
- arranging transportation to doctor’s appointment and for rehabilitation, if they are on an outpatient basis
- Making sure that they get their medications on time
- arranging for a private nurse at home if need be
- ensuring they get the right diet
- modify your home to help them move around
- help with personal hygiene like bathing or brushing until they are able to move on their own
Make sure that you get enough sleep, diet and rest, do not forget to take care of you while taking care of them, ensure that you speak up if you ever feel overwhelmed or depressed. Stay strong, you’ll need it