“Brain attack” is the most descriptive and realistic term for stroke.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Stroke kills brain cells in the area surrounding the location of the clot or breakage.
Up to 80% of strokes are preventable through risk factor management (such as smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease).
People who have had a stroke are at greatly increased risk of another one, so it is important for caregivers to know signs of stroke.
Common Signs Of A Stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you see someone having these symptoms or experience any of these symptoms yourself, call 9-1-1 immediately. Appropriate treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every minute matters.
Effects on Functioning:
Stroke is the 4th most prevalent cause of death in the US and a leading cause of adult disability.
- Depression and anxiety: effects cognitive abilities; can be treated with individual counseling, group therapy or antidepressant medications
- Problems with memory, thinking, attention or learning
- Communication problems: including using language, difficulty understanding speech or writing, knowing the right words but being unable to say them intelligibly
- Emotional Lability (Pseudobulbar Affect): sudden laughing or crying for no apparent reason and difficulty controlling emotional responses; occurs randomly and may end as quickly as it started
- Difficulties with daily tasks
- Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body or in a single limb.
- Pain, related to muscle stiffness or spasms, numbness or joint strain
- Problems with balance and/or coordination
- Being unaware of or ignoring sensations on one side of body, impacts ability to function (aka Neglect)
- Trouble swallowing
- Problems with bowel or bladder control
- Sleep difficulty, resulting in fatigue, insomnia, etc.
About 50% of stroke survivors require care. Of all strokes, 40% cause moderate to severe impairments requiring special care and another 10% cause damage requiring long-term, skilled nursing care.
For more about stroke recovery:
We specialize in Stroke Survivor Care and Recovery. Call a Care Manager to learn more: 402-261-5158.
Sources: National Stroke Association; American Heart Association; Mayo Clinic; Dr. Wityk, Neurologist, Johns Hopkins; Drs. Stein, Silver, and Frates: Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Stroke
Lee Nyberg, a partner at Home Care Assistance of Nebraska, focuses on education on aging issues, co-leads a Parkinson’s support group, and is a Legislative Advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association.