Life After Stroke: Long-Term Effects
Empowering stroke survivors to embrace life after their stroke is a crucial part of their journey. It’s equally important to recognize and address the long-term effects to help them achieve the best possible quality of life in the years to come.
Introduction to Life After Stroke
Every year, an estimated 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Stroke is a major life event whose impact can be far-reaching for both the survivor and their loved ones. Depending on the severity of the stroke and the damage it does, this medical condition can come with physical, mental, emotional and behavioral challenges. This can, in turn, affect different aspects of your day-to-day life. However, understanding the long-term effects of stroke can help to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of stroke patients. So what does life after a stroke look like?
Here’s what to know.
Long-Term Effects of Stroke
A stroke can cause several long-term problems. Knowing what to expect during the recovery journey will help you to heal and adjust to any long-term effects. Below are some possible post-stroke problems.
Pain: Stroke survivors may experience pain, numbness or tingling and burning feelings. The pain can span from headaches to joint and muscle pains. This happens due to actual or potential damage to the structures in the brain that interpret pain.
Fatigue: Patients may feel fatigued due to physical changes, medication and sleep difficulties. This may continue even after you return home.
Vision problems: Stroke can damage the nerves that control the eyes, leading to problems such as blurred vision, double vision, visual field loss and vision loss.
Memory and thinking: Many stroke victims have difficulty with memory, awareness, thinking, attention, judgment and learning.
Emotional changes: Stroke survivors may have trouble controlling or expressing emotions. Common emotional problems include emotional outbursts, mood swings, anxiety and depression.
Sensory loss: An individual affected by stroke may no longer be sensitive to touch, pain or temperature. They may have difficulty gripping or holding things and may be unable to recognize the objects they are holding.
Seizures: About seven percent of people who suffer a stroke experience a seizure after that stroke. A stroke can cause injury to the brain, which in turn affects the electrical activity in the brain. This increases the risk of having a seizure.
Aphasia: If you have had a stroke, you may also suffer from aphasia. This is a language disorder that affects your ability to understand written and spoken works, formulate sentences and recall words.
Apraxia of speech: Problems with speech and language after a stroke may include apraxia of speech. This motor speech disorder affects the brain pathways involved in producing speech, making it hard to speak.
Movement problems and muscle weakness: Patients may experience muscle weakness or stiffness, usually on one side of the body. You may also have trouble with balance and coordination, leading to movement problems.
Spasticity: Brain damage due to stroke can cause prolonged muscle contraction. This may in turn cause abnormal muscle stiffness and tightness, a condition called spasticity. Spasticity can not only be painful but can also make it difficult to talk, walk and perform daily tasks.
Bowel incontinence: As a stroke patient, you may have problems with bladder and bowel control. This happens due to muscle weakness, impaired mobility and changes in sensations, thinking and communication.
Swallowing problems: Strokes can cause a swallowing disorder called dysphagia. Impaired control over the muscles in the throat responsible for swallowing will lead to difficulties swallowing food, drinks and saliva.
Paralysis: Damage from a stroke can affect communication between the brain and muscles, leading to paralysis. Generally, paralysis will be on the side of the body opposite the affected side of the brain.
Cognitive impairment: Stroke may have long-term cognitive effects ranging from mild impairment to dementia. This can affect many aspects of your life including planning, remembering, thinking and language.
Jaw pain: Post-stroke patients may experience sudden jaw pain due to repeated spasms of facial muscles.
What is the Treatment for Stroke?
If you have had a stroke, you are at a high risk of another stroke. This is why it is important to treat the underlying causes of stroke. Depending on the type of stroke, treatment options may include:
- Emergency measures
- Stroke medications
- Minimally invasive stroke treatments
- Catheter embolectomy
- Surgical treatments
- Stroke rehabilitation
Maintaining a Good Quality of Life After Stroke
Recovery time following a stroke varies from person to person. Some survivors recover fully while others have long-term disabilities. To maintain a good quality of life and promote quick recovery, it is important to:
- Monitor medications
- Evaluate your home to ensure it is safe and different areas are easily accessible
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Keep the brain active
- Exercise regularly
- Arrange for outpatient therapy and home care
Proper diagnosis and treatment can go a long way in improving quality of life for stroke survivors.
Read our “Stroke Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment: A Complete Guide” blog post to stay informed about the types of stroke, symptoms, screening, diagnosis, treatment options, stroke management, and more. Call 9-9-5 or get to the nearest emergency room immediately if you or a loved one are experiencing stroke symptoms.
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Treatments in Singapore
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic provides a full spectrum of neurointerventional treatments that seek to deal with stroke-related issues. There are individualized treatment plans available to help alleviate long-term effects of stroke and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to see how we can help you on your stroke journey with our programs including stroke screening, management, and prevention.
Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore
Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. It’s important to find a stroke specialist and doctor you can trust in Singapore. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation. Arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our stroke specialist.
Transient Ischemic Attack: What You Need to Know
Not all people get strokes. However, for those who are well, warning signs of stroke can still happen. You might have heard of Transient Ischemic Stroke (TIA), which can lead to a future possible stroke.
We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management
Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.
Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available.
Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs
Brain Aneurysm Resources
Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.
Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar
Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.
Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.
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