A stroke can occur in anybody of any age group, however they are more prevalent in older people or people who suffer from other medical conditions which effect the arteries (such as high blood pressure or diabetes). Strokes happen when the blood supply to an area of your brain stops as a result of a blockage (ischaemic stroke) or a bleed (haemorrhagic stroke). If the blockage is due to a temporary cause, which rectifies itself, this is called a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). TIA’s can last from minutes to hours and although temporary are a sign of a potential future stroke if left untreated.
When the blood does not circulate to every area of the brain that it is needed, it starves the brain of the essential oxygen and nutrients that it requires. The part or parts of the brain where the blood is not reaching then begin to die. This can result in brain injury or death.
The quicker a stroke is diagnosed and medical intervention takes place the increased likelihood of survival is. This is why it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of Stroke and seek medical help as soon as possible. Early intervention can minimise the damage that the brain is exposed to.
To recognise the symptoms of someone suffering from an acute Stroke try to remember the acronym ‘FAST’
F – Face; the face may drop on one side especially the eye or mouth, the person may not be able to smile
A – Arms; can the person raise both arms, if suffering a stroke they may be unable to raise one arm or it may be weaker than the other
S – Speech; The person may not be able to speak, pronounce words correctly, they may slur or speak in incoherent language
T – Time; Get help immediately, call emergency services
Both medications and surgery can be options used to treat a person who has had a stroke.
Strokes can affect any part of a persons function from their cognition, communication to their physical ability. It all depends on which areas of the brain are affected by the lack of blood supply. The length and success of a persons recovery also varies from person to person again depending on the severity of the stroke.
Occupational therapy is a vital component of the assessment process following a stroke to determine how the stroke has affected the individual. Occupational Therapy then works towards individual’s goals in practical and functional ways, to help them to regain their previous ability or learn how to manage day-to-day life within their limitations.
If you have been affected by a Stroke or know someone who has and would like to discuss our services further, please do not hesitate to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.