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Stroke has emerged as a major public health concern in Malaysia. It is one of the top 5 leading causes of death and one of the top 10 causes for hospitalization in Malaysia. While strokes can happen at any age, they are most prevalent among the elderly. Despite our society’s awareness of the prevalence of stroke, we may not know how best to help our senior loved ones prevent such medical emergencies and recover from it. But on top of all that, we should learn why  strokes occur and what are the signs and symptoms because the recovery depends on how quickly someone detects stroke warning signs and how fast they receive treatment.

This article explains the signs and symptoms of stroke, stroke rehabilitation, as well as the different types of stroke and the steps a person can take to prevent them.

About Strokes

A stroke occurs when a blockage or bleed of the blood vessels either interrupts or reduces the supply of blood to the brain. When this happens, the brain does not receive enough oxygen or nutrients, and brain cells start to die. There are a few different types of stroke:

  • Ischemic strokes occur when blood vessels become blocked.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel leaks blood into the brain.
  • “Mini-strokes” or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) occur when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of a stroke often appear without warning. Here are a few stroke symptoms to watch for:

  • Numbness in the face and limbs, most commonly on one side of the body
  • Confusion, including difficulty speaking and understanding speech
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness and/or severe headache
  • Problems in maintaining balance/lack of coordination

These symptoms of stroke in elderly adults can be red flags. However, bear in mind that women may experience different stroke symptoms including: 

  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden general weakness
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sudden palpitations

If you notice any of these stroke warning signs, act quickly/call the ambulance to ensure your elderly loved one receives immediate treatment. Speed is critical to lessen brain damage and have a positive outcome.

Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke is a  life-altering attack and a potentially life changing event that can have lasting physical and emotional effects. Successful recovery from a stroke will often involve specific therapies and support systems, including:

  • Speech Therapy – this covers breathing exercises, tongue strengthening exercises, practicing speech sounds, naming pictures and sentence practice to help recover a patient’s communication skills.
  • Physical Therapy – this can help a person relearn movement and coordination such as walking, sitting, standing, lying down, and the process of switching from one type of movement to another.
  • Occupational Therapy – this can help the stroke patient relearn everyday activities such as eating, drinking and swallowing, dressing, bathing, cooking, reading and writing, and using the toilet. Occupational therapists seek to help the patient become independent or semi-independent.
  • Support Groups – this can help a person cope with common mental health issues that can develop after a stroke by establishing social interaction, exchanging personal experiences, sharing feelings and challenges, and supporting each other
  • Support from Family and Friends – family members and friends are important partners in their recovery efforts. A supportive environment helps a stroke patient to get well faster, both physically and mentally

Stroke Prevention

The best way to prevent stroke or reduce your risk of having another stroke in the future is to address the underlying causes. Everyone can achieve this by changing their lifestyle habits such as:

  • Have a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Not smoking tobacco
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Not overweight or obese

Other measures a person can take to help reduce the risk of stroke include:

  • Controlling their blood pressure levels
  • Managing diabetes
  • Getting treatment for heart disease

These are just a few of the steps we can take to lower our senior loved ones’ risk of having a stroke. Monitoring other health conditions like Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease is necessary to help fend off stroke. Our senior loved ones may forget to take their medication or crave to eat food that is high in salt or simply ignore their underlying health conditions, hence it is our responsibility to look after them and ensure they stay healthy and happy.

Stroke rehabilitation for the elderly can range anywhere from a few weeks to many years, depending again on the individual’s personal circumstances. It takes professional efforts and knowledge to surpass and overcome challenges faced during the ongoing phases of recovery. Specialising in post stroke care, Zenvilla is always here to support your senior loved ones in their road to recovery by providing treatments and therapies while ensuring them to live a fulfilling life.

Free consultation is available, please don’t hesitate to call +6011-27378320 or drop us an email at enquiry@zenvilla.my so we can help you.

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