Stroke is a pathological condition characterized by a sharp disruption of the blood circulation in one or many parts of the brain. There are two different types of stroke – ischemic (the prerequisite for the development of which is narrowing, partial or complete occlusion of the artery) and hemorrhagic (associated with damage or complete rupture of the vessel). Ischemia causes impaired blood circulation in the vessels of the brain and causes the death of parts of its soft tissues. The degree of tissue trauma depends on the duration of oxygen deprivation and the general health of the person. The volume and nature of brain damage determines both the structure and duration of the subsequent rehabilitation program for the patient after a stroke.
Signs of a stroke
Stroke symptoms are:
- sudden weakness, face/limbs muscle numbness – usually on one side of the body;
- difficulty speaking;
- a sharp drop in vision (in one or both eyes);
- throbbing headache, dizziness;
- unreasonable violation of movement coordination.
It is important to remember: the sooner medical care is provided for a stroke, the higher the chances of keeping as many neurons of the brain alive are. The most effective time for emergency therapy is 3-6 hours from the first manifestation of the disease. After this period, changes in the affected areas of the brain can become irreversible, and rehabilitation measures after a stroke can be virtually useless.
How long does it take to recover from a stroke?
There is no single recovery period after hemorrhage, the rehabilitation time depends on the size and location of the affected area, the type of stroke, as well as the time that has passed since the onset of the disease to the provision of specialized care. Estimated terms of rehabilitation can be presented as follows:
- Stroke with minimal neurological deficit – slight paralysis of the face, limbs, visual impairment, impaired coordination, dizziness. Partial recovery occurs in 1-2 months, complete recovery is possible in 2-3 months but depends on the patient’s rehabilitation potential.
- Stroke with severe neurological deficit – gross paralysis of the face, limbs, serious impairment of coordination. The patient becomes able to self-care after 6 months, and full recovery takes years.
- Severe hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes with persistent neurological deficits lead to disability of the patient due to paralysis and other defects. Partial recovery is possible in 1-2 years. With a gross neurological deficit, complete recovery is impossible due to the necrosis of important clusters of brain neurons, the functions of which cannot be taken over by neighboring cells.
It is important for the patient to realize that recovery from any stroke should not end. Short daily procedures will not only help to regain the former skills and qualities but also prevent new stroke attacks.
Stroke rehabilitation programme
For patients who have undergone acute circulatory disorders in the brain, timely, prompt and competent rehabilitation after a stroke is the first and key step on the way to restoring health. Achieving the maximum clinical effect of rehabilitation is possible only with the help of experienced UK specialists.
It is important to understand that rehabilitation after a stroke should begin as early as possible, from the first days of the disease – when the patient’s condition becomes stable. With local hemorrhages that have not spread to a large area of the brain, the patient’s condition stabilizes on the third or fourth day. With the beginning of this period, the beginning of the rehabilitation process becomes possible.
In the neurological department, rehabilitation of patients after a stroke is carried out by experienced doctors and trained medical personnel. At a UK medical center, patients have the opportunity to successfully restore skills and functions lost as a result of a cerebrovascular accident.
ARNI Stroke Charity identifies three key stages of a stroke rehabilitation program:
- First stage: during this period the patient is in a supine position; often, with a severe stroke, the patient is motionless. During this period, rehabilitation activities are limited by the patient’s condition and consist in systematic overturning, specialized anti-decubitus massage and breathing exercises. Medical rehabilitation specialists constantly talk with the patient, even if he or she does not have a pronounced reaction to speech: passive listening activates attention, understanding of speech gradually returns. The first stage of recovery can last from several days to several months, depending on the severity of the stroke.
- Second stage: during this period, the patient can perform a certain amount of movement, however, independent getting out of bed is not yet possible for him or her. The patient undergoes passive kinesiotherapy (treatment by movement – specialized gymnastics, massage), physiotherapy. Rehabilitation specialists deal with the elimination of aphasia (speech impairment) and the restoration of the patient’s memory. The early rehabilitation phase can last from several weeks to six months.
- Third stage. The period of late rehabilitation: the period of active recovery of motor, mental, mental, emotional functions and skills. The patient can do gymnastics on his/her own, tries to sit in bed and get up from it. At this stage, occupational therapy plays an important role (treatment by labor – activities aimed at the development of fine manual motor skills). Rehabilitation also includes drug therapy, classes with a speech therapist and a psychologist. The late stage of recovery can take from six months to two years.
The key principle of stroke rehabilitation programmes is an individual approach to restoring the health of each patient. Specialists carefully study the history and clinical picture of the disease in each patient, analyze the degree of brain damage and impairment of basic functions, assess the severity of the post-stroke condition. After that, an individual treatment regimen and a recovery course are developed with preliminary planning of the duration of each stage. UK medical centers also carry out measures to prevent the recurrence of stroke, which allows to consolidate and prolong the obtained therapeutic effect and prevent the risk of new brain damage.
Rehabilitation of patients in the UK is structured as follows:
- A supervising neurologist, exercise therapy instructor, as well as a psychologist and speech therapist (if necessary) are assigned to the patient.
- Doctors work with the patient on a daily basis, using suitable modern methods of treatment ¬ individual and group kinesiotherapy (exercise therapy), massage, various types of physiotherapy, including electro neuro stimulation and myostimulation, exercises on biofeedback simulators, devices for restoring fine motor skills of the hand and movement of the lower extremities, speech therapy classes, consultations with a psychotherapist, neuropsychologist (if necessary) and many other activities.
Comprehensive rehabilitation after a stroke includes a cycle of activities aimed at:
- restoration of the function of movement (verticalization, ergotherapy, providing a gradual restoration of walking; therapeutic massage; physiotherapy exercises; physiotherapy procedures);
- restoration of speech function and memory (classes with specialists, an aphasiologist, speech therapist);
- restoration of psycho-emotional health (classes with a psychologist, communication with relatives, non-strenuous physical activity).
Making an appointment
You can contact Glynneath Leisure Center, Celtic Leisure, or Vale of Neath Medical Center. They all have a team of experienced neurologists. Many of their specialists are not just practicing doctors but also scientists-researchers of brain diseases, authors of scientific works related to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients after stroke.
Tags: disease, healthcare, rehabilitation, Stroke