Disability comes in all shapes and sizes, and just as many may be idiopathic or part of your life for as long as you remember, others can be caused by sudden injury and illness. One of the leading causes of disability in adults is stroke. What’s more, those who live with a disability that gets in their way of being active and practicing self-care are potentially even more at risk of stroke. Here, we’re going to look at what you need to know about it, and what to do or be aware of should it come to play a role in your life.
Causes and prevention
Strokes occur when blood flow is cut off to a part of the brain, starving it of oxygen which causes brain cells to die. There are a wide range of risk factors, including high blood pressure, smoking and tobacco consumption, heart disease, diabetes, poor weight management. Depending on medication you use as well as other personal factors, such as old age and genetic predispositions, you may be at more risk, too. A focus on preventative care involving fitness, better weight management, diet, and screenings for blood sugar and blood pressure rates with your doctor are essential in knowing and managing your risk of stroke.
Recognizing and treating
Recognizing the symptoms of stroke as soon as possible gives you the best possible chances of getting care in time. It’s essential you dial 911 as soon as you suspect you or a loved one are having a stroke. 50% of hemorrhagic stroke are fatal and the sooner you find stroke care, the better. Symptoms to be aware of include: confusion or difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, loss of vision, numbness/weakness/paralysis in one side of the body, a sudden and severe headache, and sudden dizziness or loss of balance. Many living with disability may already have these symptoms in their life, but it’s important to err on the side of the caution. If you feel any of these beyond what you consider “normal”, you need to get care as soon as possible.
Managing your outcome
Long-term stroke care is also about managing the symptoms and improving your recovery should you have one. While most strokes can have some form of permanent effect, many are able to recover some of the more severe effects that manifest after one. Stroke rehabilitation can help address some of the disabilities that may arise as a result of stroke, including problems with motor control, sensory disturbances (such as chronic pain), problems speaking or understanding language, memory/cognitive issues, and emotional disturbances. Ensuring a proactive approach to rehabilitation with your stroke care providers is essential to providing the best chance of managing a positive outcome.
While the primary focus should be on recognizing the risks and prevention, when it comes to strokes, as most are preventable, it’s also important to be aware of what to do in the event of one, as well as the long-term repercussions. Raising stroke awareness can help you ensure better preventative care and treatment should it happen.