A stroke is most definitely the third leading cause of death and permanent disability in the United States. Complications after a stroke may range from mild to rather serious when patients stay bedridden for lifetime and many of the body and brain functions are lost for good. Rehabilitation after a stroke is crucial in re-establishment of the lost functions and it starts soon after the patients have been hospitalized.
Recovery Time after Stroke
If stroke complications are mild the patient may recover completely with correct rehabilitation. Unfortunately, in severe damage of the brain certain functions can be only slightly improved but even with proper rehabilitation they are not as they used to be.
Recovery time after stroke depends on the severity of the damage and patient's general health. Some people recover faster than the others. The process of rehabilitation starts a couple of days after the stroke. It can start only after the patients are stabilized. The first few months after a stroke are the most important. This is the time when patients must try as hard as they can to restore all the lost functions. The recovery within these few months is most successful and provides with the best results. The process of recovery may be slightly decelerated by the medications given to the patients after the stroke. This particularly refers to certain antihypertensive drugs, anticonvulsion drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, and anti-anxiety medications.
Rehabilitation after Stroke
The rehabilitation process is essential in re-establishment of the damaged functions and making the patients more independent and productive. To what extent the rehabilitation will be effective depends on the amount of damage caused to the brain. This leads to conclusion that rehabilitation will be most effective in mild damage while significant damage of the brain tissue in some cases makes rehabilitation a daunting task.
Professional help is required and patients also benefit from family care and support. During the hospitalization patients work with well experienced physical therapist. Once they are discharged they may come to hospital to continue exercises with the therapist or are explained exercises which are then practiced at home. Family members and friends may help the patient to perform the exercises correctly. The goal is to regain all the abilities and skills that have been lost.
To succeed patients need to be strongly motivated and have desire to progress. After a stroke many patients develop depression which may interfere in rehabilitation. They lose motivation and become inert. Depression requires medications and sometimes psychological support.
The overall success of rehabilitation is unique for each patient. Fortunately, in majority of cases most of the functional abilities are restored.