Conditions Impacting Physical Abilities After A Stroke

CT Scan (Small)Everything you do is ultimately controlled within your brain. Whether you are looking at a beautiful painting, taking a stroll around the neighborhood, reading a book, or talking to a neighbor, your brain is processing multiple forms of information, controlling muscles, recalling memories, and performing various other functions. In order to do all this, your brain needs nutrients and oxygen, and it receives these through the bloodstream.

In the event of a stroke, a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain either becomes blocked by a clot (called an ischemic stroke) or ruptured (hemorrhagic stroke). Either of these types will prevent oxygen from reaching parts of the brain, leading to possible neurological damage as brain cells die.

Since each area of the brain governs specific functions, the areas affected by the stroke will determine which physical abilities are impacted. Some of the most common effects include the following:

  • Dysphagia: Dysphagia occurs when throat muscle movements are hampered, leading to difficulty swallowing, weak voice, coughing or gagging, drooling, poor tongue control, and loss of gag reflex.
  • Fatigue: Sudden bouts of fatigue may result from post-stroke depression, sleep problems, limb weakness, or pain.
  • Numbness: The ability of your brain to interpret tactile signals may be influenced by a stroke, leading to numbness in a specific area of the body.
  • Incontinence: The inability to control the bladder or bowels may result from a stroke. This can be treated through medications, therapies, scheduled bathroom breaks, and exercises.
  • Hemiparesis: Eighty percent of stroke survivors suffer from hemiparesis, or weakness on one side of the body. This can negatively affect balance, coordination, precision, energy levels, and the ability to hold some objects.
  • Spasticity: When your brain cannot properly interpret signals from certain areas of the body, such as an arm or a leg, it may cause those parts to spasm and cramp up, a condition called spasticity. This can lead to stiff joints, painful cramps, and tightened fists, elbows, or feet.
  • Pain: Pain may result from the brain’s inability to interpret signals from certain areas of the body due to a stroke. As it receives signals of warm, cold, touch, etc., it may erringly interpret these as pain.
  • Vision loss: Black spots, double vision, blind areas, visual midline shifting, and inability to notice certain objects in an area can all result from a stroke. The treatments often involve therapy, optical treatments, and surgery.

In many cases, these difficulties can be decreased or overcome through medication and physical therapy. In cases where the effects are mild, this may be accomplished in the home or with an in-home nurse. In other cases, such as when the ability to function independently is severely limited, a skilled nursing facility can provide the needed treatment. This is especially recommended when your loved one’s condition makes it unsafe to live at home.

At Senior Care Centers, we provide a safe environment in which stroke recovery can occur. We strive to provide the best treatment to our residents while fostering as much independence as possible. With experienced nurses and a community environment, we provide skilled nursing treatment to older residents throughout the state of Texas and Louisiana.

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