A stroke occurs unexpectedly and with no warning, and most times there is little or no time to let you prepare. A stroke could affect your movements, and how you think or feel. Even though each patient's experience with a stroke is unique, some symptoms are more widespread than others.
If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke or detected any stroke symptoms, you can contact our experienced physical therapists at Suarez Physical Therapy in Las Vegas. We will help you improve your quality of life through hands-on treatment, prescribed movement, and proper patient education.
An Overview of Stroke
A stroke, sometimes referred to as a cerebrovascular accident or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. This hinders the brain from receiving oxygen and essential nutrients from the blood. Brain cells start to die in just minutes of being deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients. Unexpected bleeding inside the brain could also trigger a stroke when the bleeding affects brain cells.
Once brain cells start to die, brain function is compromised. You may be unable to perform tasks that require the use of that region of your brain. A stroke, for instance, can impair your capacity to:
- Regulate your bladder and bowel
- Remember and think
- Regulate other essential bodily processes
- Control your emotional responses
Delaying treatment raises your chances of developing a disability, irreversible brain damage, or death.
Types of Stroke
The following are types of strokes:
- A hemorrhagic stroke
- An ischemic stroke
This is the most common type of stroke. The blood vessels bringing blood and nutrients to your brain become constricted or obstructed when ischemic strokes occur. The obstructions are induced by blood clots in the blood vessels or a significant drop in blood circulation in the brain. They could likewise be triggered by plaque chunks shattering and blocking a blood vessel.
Ischemic stroke can be induced by two kinds of obstructions: cerebral thrombosis and cerebral embolism.
A cerebral embolism happens when blood clots develop in another region of a patient’s body, normally the blood vessels in the upper neck and chest or heart, and is transported throughout the body till it gets to an artery that’s too small to allow it to pass. The clots become trapped, blocking the blood flow and leading to a stroke.
According to the CDC, an ischemic stroke is responsible for approximately 87% of all stroke cases.
A hemorrhagic stroke could occur when blood vessels in the brain rupture or leak. Blood from the ruptured artery builds up pressure inside the skull and causes the brain to enlarge, causing damage to the brain tissues and cells.
There are two kinds of hemorrhagic strokes, subarachnoid and intracerebral strokes.
The most common form of a hemorrhagic stroke is an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke. It occurs when the vessel carrying blood ruptures, causing the tissues around the brain to fill with blood. The occurrence of a subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke is uncommon. It results in bleeding inside the brain and tissues that surround it.
A hemorrhagic stroke could also happen in individuals who have a tangle of abnormal blood vessels linking arteries and veins in the brain. This tangle is referred to as a cerebral arteriovenous malformation. AVM can cause brain hemorrhage by disrupting blood flow.
As per the American Heart Association, hemorrhagic strokes account for around 13% of all stroke cases.
Both forms of stroke result in damage to brain cells. This damage induces symptoms in the regions of the body and processes regulated by these brain cells.
A Transient Ischemic Attack
A transient ischemic attack is also referred to as a "mini-stroke." It differs from the two kinds of stroke, in that, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for just a short period, usually less than five minutes.
TIAs are often referred to as "warning strokes." It's critical to understand that:
- A transient ischemic attack is a sign that a stroke could happen in the future
- A TIA, like a massive stroke, is a medical emergency
- Strokes and Transient Ischemic Attacks require immediate medical attention. If you suspect a stroke or detect symptoms in anyone around you, dial 9-1-1 immediately
- It's difficult to tell if symptoms are caused by a TIA or a serious form of a stroke at first
- Blood clots, like in ischemic strokes, are a common cause of TIAs
- More than one-third of persons who suffer a TIA but do not receive treatment will suffer a severe stroke within that year. Up to 10% – 15% of persons will suffer a severe stroke within three months
Symptoms of a Stroke
The symptoms vary depending on which section of the brain has been affected. In certain cases, a person could be unaware that they have had a stroke.
Symptoms usually appear out of nowhere and without notice. However, symptoms could present themselves on and off during the first or second day. When a stroke occurs, the symptoms are often the most serious, but they could gradually worsen.
The earlier a person suffering from a stroke receives treatment, the greater their chances of recovery are. As a result, knowing the symptoms might help you act fast. Symptoms could include:
- Unexpected weakness or numbness on one side of the body, usually the face, leg, or arm
- Confusion about what you are currently doing or where you are
- Having difficulty communicating or comprehending what other people are saying
- You're having difficulty seeing in one or maybe both eyes
- Walking difficulties, disorientation, or a loss of coordination
- An intense, unexpected headache that arises from nowhere
- Unexpected vomiting or nausea that is not the result of an infection or a virus
- Sudden unconsciousness, confusion, or convulsions with no identifiable reason
As you have seen before, transient ischemic attack, often known as a ministroke, causes stroke-like signs in certain people. TIAs don't cause irreversible damage since the flow of blood is changed for just a brief duration (from several minutes to 24 hours). Identifying the symptoms of a TIA and receiving medical treatment can prevent you from getting a severe stroke.
A stroke can result in many long-term complications, including:
- Having difficulty moving or not being capable of moving one side of your body
- Extremely limited mobility or rigidity in the legs and arms
- Difficulties with balance
- Fragility on one side of the body
- Numbness that comes and goes
- A loss or absence of sensation or feeling
- Being sensitive to cold
- Loss of memory
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Having trouble remembering words
Who is at Risk For Stroke?
You're more likely to have a stroke if you have specific risk factors. The following are risk factors for stroke, as per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
A poor diet could raise the risk of having a stroke. It includes a diet that has a lot of:
- Trans fats
- Saturated fats
A sedentary lifestyle, or a lack of physical activity, could also increase the risk of getting a stroke. Regular physical activity has plenty of advantages for your health. Adults should get an approximate two and a half hours of aerobic activity per week, according to the CDC. This can be as simple as going for a quick walk several times per week.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Heavy alcohol intake also raises the likelihood of suffering a stroke. If you must take alcohol, do it in moderation. This translates to no more than a single drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Heavy drinking can cause your blood pressure to rise. It can potentially aggravate atherosclerosis by raising triglyceride levels. The buildup of plaque in the arteries causes blood vessels to narrow.
Tobacco use, in any form, increases the likelihood of stroke by damaging blood vessels as well as the heart. Tobacco has nicotine that raises blood pressure.
Your Personal History
Certain risk factors for stroke are beyond your control, including:
Your family history — Genetic medical problems, like high blood pressure, increase the risk of stroke in certain families.
Sex — Even though both women and men can suffer from strokes, strokes are more widespread in women throughout all age brackets, as per the CDC.
Age — You're more susceptible to suffering a stroke as you become older.
Race and ethnicity — Strokes are more common in African Americans, American Indians, and Alaska Natives than in other races and ethnicities.
Medical history — Stroke risk is associated with some medical problems. Some of them include:
- Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Heart valve malfunctions
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Carrying an excessive amount of weight
- Blood clotting disease
- Uneven heartbeats as well as enlarged heart chambers
- Sickle cell anemia
- Patent foramen ovale
How is a Stroke Diagnosed?
Your physician will inquire about your symptoms as well as what you were doing when they first appeared. Your medical background will be used to determine your risk factors for getting a stroke. In addition, they will:
- Inquire about what drugs you take
- Your blood pressure should be checked
- Examine your heart
You'll also get a physical examination, in which your physician will examine you for the following:
- Symptoms of confusion
- Numbness in the face, arms, or legs
- Issues with vision
After that, your physician will do a series of tests to assist in confirming a diagnosis of stroke. These examinations can enable them to figure out if you have suffered a stroke and:
- What could have triggered it?
- What region of your brain is impacted?
- If or not you have a brain hemorrhage
How a Physical Therapist Can Help You
Physical therapists are essential members of the stroke treatment and rehabilitation team. Physiotherapy usually begins when you're still at the hospital after having a stroke. The key objective of your physical therapist is to assist you in going back to your normal routine at your workplace, at home, as well as in the community.
Assessment is critical for influencing stroke treatment. Your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive examination, which will include the following:
- Obtaining your medical history
- In-depth discussion of your symptoms
- Identifying the condition's underlying risk factors
- Examining lab results, X-rays, and other images
- Examining your capacity to move, walk, stand, and perform other tasks
- Performing a practice-oriented physical examination
Your physical therapist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs, medical issues, as well as goals after performing an examination and assessing your condition. They will work cooperatively with you to ensure that you experience the best living standard possible. The following issues will be addressed in the treatment plan:
- Improving your mobility
- Attending to any kind of pain you could be experiencing
- Advising on how to avoid challenges that could arise following a stroke
Among the initial things, your physiotherapist will help you learn how to comfortably transition from a bed to your chair and perform exercises while still in bed. Your physical therapist will also show you strengthening physical exercises as well as functional activities as you gain mobility.
Your physical therapist can:
- Assist you in gaining a proper balance as well as walking abilities
- If necessary, provide you with braces or a wheelchair
- Give your carers or family members some training
- Show you the correct way to use equipment that can assist you in remaining mobile if you've had a stroke and can't walk, move, or hold your balance. The equipment could include prostheses, orthoses, walkers, wheelchairs, canes, or robotics
The treatment for stroke patients differs. The outcomes of the evaluation by your physical therapist, as well as the length of time after your stroke, will determine your treatment. The following factors play a role in stroke recovery:
- The size as well as the location of the stroke
- How fast did you receive treatment?
- The extent of your brain injury at the moment of the stroke
- Other medical conditions you might have
What You Can Do to Prevent Stroke
You can prevent stroke by living a healthy lifestyle and addressing any existing health concerns.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being obese or overweight raises your risk of having a stroke. To establish if your weight is at an ideal range, doctors usually calculate a person's body mass index.
Physical activity can assist you in maintaining a healthy weight as well as lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Adults should get two and a half hours of moderate-intensity cardio per week, like a walk. Children and teenagers need to have an hour of exercise every day.
Do not Smoke
The risk of a stroke is considerably increased if you smoke cigarettes. If you do not smoke already, do not start. However, if you do, quitting will reduce your risk of stroke. Your physician could recommend solutions that will help you quit smoking.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause your blood pressure to rise. Men should limit themselves to two drinks each day, while women should limit themselves to one.
Check Your Cholesterol Levels
Your doctor needs to check your cholesterol levels once every five years. Medicine, as well as lifestyle adjustments, can help lessen your risk of stroke if your levels of cholesterol are high.
Which Physical Therapist Should You See?
Physical therapists are all trained to manage a wide range of injuries and conditions through their training and expertise. You might want to put into consideration:
- A physiotherapist who has undergone a fellowship or residency in neurologic physiotherapy and is a board-certified clinical specialist (NCS) in neurology. This physical therapist has extensive knowledge, expertise, and abilities that could be useful in the treatment of your medical issue
- A physiotherapist who has treated clients with stroke-related issues before. Some physical therapists specialize in neurological conditions
It is also crucial that you find a physical therapist who:
- Gives an ongoing evaluation of how you are doing
- Take part in a program that centers on patient treatment
- Is willing to help you establish the ideal goals, taking into consideration your ambitions and constraints
- Challenges you to attain your existing physical capabilities
- Supports and educates your members of the family as well as other carers regularly
- Contacts you on regularly to assess your progress
- Knows your post-stroke symptoms and impairments
- If possible, devotes 100% of their focus to you throughout your therapy, providing direct care and continual supervision to prevent damage and evaluate your development
In reality, you can not always predict what services you will receive from a prospective therapist during your initial meeting. Since it is critical to stick to your physiotherapy routine and begin effective workouts as early as possible, you should rule out physical therapists and plans that are unsuitable for you or are insensitive to your goals and symptoms.
Find a Las Vegas Physical Therapist Near Me
Prompt treatment is among the most efficient ways to lower your chances of long-term disability and complications. Clot-busting drugs can be administered during the first several hours when stroke symptoms first appear to reduce the risk of suffering a stroke. If you're experiencing any signs of a stroke, you can contact Suarez Physical Therapy as quickly as possible to get emergency medical care. Call us at 702-368-6778 today.