While a lot of progress is typically seen in the first few months after a stroke, full stroke recovery can take years. This not only makes for a physically taxing experience, but an emotional one.
Stroke recovery differs based on the severity of the stroke and the areas of the brain it affected. Additionally, recovery plans for each stroke should be customized to an individual. That being said, there are five things everyone can do to ensure recovery is as fast as possible.
Ways to make stroke recovery easier
1. Prioritize a healthy lifestyle- Exercise is now more important than ever. Even a quick walk can make a big difference in building a strong heart and helping prevent additional strokes. Diet also plays a large role, so try to focus on fruit- and vegetable-rich meals and foods that are good for your heart. If you have any questions about making changes to your diet, you should talk to your doctor.
2. Measure physical progress – Stroke survivors are expected to make measurable functional gains every week in mobility, communication and daily living skills. It is important both the positive progress as well as falls are noted. Falls are common and can be minor or cause additional injury. If falls occur more than two times within six months, physical therapy may be needed.
3. Measure emotional progress – depending on the part of the brain that the stroke affected, changes in a person’s emotion might occur. Many stroke survivors have a difficult time controlling their emotion and 30-50% develop some sort of depression. Make sure your stroke treatment is focused on treating both your mind and body, rather than just the physical symptoms.
4. Build a solid support system – A stroke survivor might need help doing things they used to do or relearning new ways to accomplish these tasks. For many stroke survivors, this is a frustrating experience. Feeling heard, supported and hopeful are all important parts of progress.
5. Regular visits with your doctor – Seeing your doctor regularly and engaging in helpful two-way conversation allows doctors to monitor recovery, vital signs and provide additional recommendations, such as seeing a specialist if needed.
Stroke is a very serious condition, which makes knowing the stroke warning signs especially important. If you or a loved one is in need of an expert, compassionate physician in Ohio or Kentucky, the Mercy Health team is here for you. Visit mercy.com or call 513-952-5000 to make an appointment today.