Post-stroke conditions

A stroke happens when brain cells suddenly disappear due to a lack of oxygen, owing to a stoppage in blood flow or a haemorrhage. There are two main types – ischemic and haemorrhagic. In the first case, restriction or cessation of blood flow results from a blockage in a blood vessel due to a clot or embolus in the body which has become torn off and entered the bloodstream. The second type is the result of a rupture to a blood vessel and a haemorrhage. It is caused by high arterial pressure, a trauma or aneurism.

The result of a stroke depends on the site of the haemorrhage and its size. If the stroke is light, weakness in the limbs may be the most serious symptom, but in more severe cases death or paralysis may result.

Most common symptoms:

  • dizziness, difficulty walking, loss of balance and coordination
  • loss of sensitivity and control of movements
  • paralysis of one side of the body
  • blurry, double vision
  • problems with speech, etc.

Risk factors:

  • age (more commonly above 55)
  • more common in men
  • high blood pressure
  • smoking, excessive alcohol consumption
  • obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, etc.

Physiotherapy and kinesitherapy play a large role in recovery and achievement of maximum independence following a stroke. The treatment programme is tailored to each individual patient. Key factors in recovery are early commencement, consistency and a gradual increase in treatment’s intensity and complexity.

Rehabilitation must take place on a daily basis with treatment gradually increasing in intensity and complexity. Breathing gymnastics are included, along with active and passive physical therapy, massages to reduce spasticity, acupuncture, electrostimulation of antagonistic muscles, etc. Rehabilitation takes place alongside secondary prevention of risk factors – pulmonary arterial hypertension, sugar diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, etc.

Early commencement of treatment reduces risk of disability, the need for constant personal care and gives the best chance of a full recovery.