Today, October 29, is World Stroke Day, and at Hudson View Center for Rehabilitation in Bergen County, New Jersey, we want to go over some of the basics that everyone should know about stroke prevention and stroke rehabilitation.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is when something disrupts the brain’s blood supply. There could be several causes, but they all lead to the same outcome. When brain cells don’t receive the oxygen they desperately need to function from the blood, they begin to quickly die, causing severe damage to the patient and potentially even resulting in death. Clearly, stroke is very dangerous, and everyone needs to know the symptoms, how to prevent it, how to identify it, and what to do if it happens.

How to identify a stroke

The American Stroke Association has developed a tool to identify a stroke in process – it’s called F.A.S.T., and it stands for:

F: Face drooping – is one side of the face falling or numb? Does the person have a lopsided smile?

A: Arm weakness – is one side of the body weaker than the other? Can the person lift both of his hands equally, or does one side fall?

S: Speech difficulty – does the person have slurred speech? Is he understandable?

T: Time to call 911 – if yes to any of these questions, call 911 immediately and get the person to an emergency room.

Other symptoms of a stroke may include confusion, trouble seeing, trouble walking, and severe headache.

Stroke prevention

Some stroke factors are preventable, and others aren’t. it’s important to control whatever you can, of course.

There are several types of strokes, the most common type called an ischemic stroke, which accounts for 87% of all strokes. In this type of stroke, a blood clot blocks the blood flow to the brain. Fortunately, there is much to do to prevent this from happening, and there are post-stroke interventions that can stop it quickly.

In an ischemic stroke, the fatty deposits in the blood vessels cause a clot either near the brain itself, or elsewhere, where the clot might travel to the brain area. How can this be controlled?

  • High blood pressure – this is a major cause of ischemic stroke and must be managed through diet, exercise, and sometimes medication.
  • Diet – a diet poor in nutrition will encourage stroke factors. A healthy diet, low in fat and high in nutrients, will discourage it.
  • Smoking can lead to stroke.
  • Any type of heart disease can lead to stroke.
  • Physical immobility. A healthy amount of activity and exercise is a strong factor against stroke.

When a stroke happens

If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, call for assistance and get to a hospital immediately. Every moment lost can cause more damage.

Emergency doctors can administer various life-saving therapies, including medications, surgeries, and therapies, to inhibit the damage of the stroke.

When the patient is stable, the patient will begin stroke rehabilitation immediately, even while still in the hospital. He will then be transferred to a rehabilitation facility where the staff will continue administering stroke rehabilitation and monitor his progress.

In some cases, the patient will recover fairly quickly and go back as if nothing has happened. However, in many cases, the patient will spend a vast number of hours in therapy attempting to regain lost abilities, with a range of success. Some may eventually return home with permanent damage but continue to do therapeutic exercise and advance slowly.

At Hudson View, we offer a high-level stroke rehabilitation program with cutting edge therapies and an expert, dedicated staff to help patients recover quickly.

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