The Fourth Congress of Society of Neuro-Vascular Intervention (SNVICON) held in Mumbai in June 2019 revealed statistics that are staggering in the Indian context. Let’s take a look at some of the findings:
- One Indian suffers brain stroke in every 20 seconds
- Lifestyle-related cases of brain stroke are increasing
- Around 1.54 million Indians are affected by stroke each year
- 90% of stroke patients didn’t reach the hospital on time
Quite alarming, right? While creating awareness about prevention of stroke is important, it’s equally important to know about stroke rehabilitation and life after stroke.
However, before venturing any further, let’s see what stroke is and what causes it.
What is a stroke?
When a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts, the condition is called a stroke. Simultaneously called the brain attack, stroke is one of the most leading causes of death and disability across the world. Some of the leading causes of stroke are smoking, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. As we’ve already seen, lifestyle-related stroke is steadily on the rise.
To understand the importance of stroke rehabilitation, it’s necessary to know how stroke affects a person’s body. The most visible sign of stroke victims is lack of mobility and loss of motor skills. Stroke rehabilitation aims to help victims of stroke to regain their mobility. The approach to stroke rehabilitation varies. Here are a few of them. Broadly categorized into physical activities, tech-assisted physical activities, cognitive and emotional activities and experimental therapies, stroke rehabilitation is a key step towards bringing stroke patients to normalcy.
Physical activities in stroke rehabilitation
- Motor skill exercises: improve muscle strength and coordination
- Mobility training: using mobility aids such as walker, canes, ankle brace, etc.
- Constraint-induced therapy: it’s about restraining the unaffected limb to improve the affected one
- Range-of-motion therapy: exercises and treatments to ease muscle tension (spasticity)
Tech-assisted physical activities
- Functional electrical stimulation: by applying electricity to weakened muscles, they are stimulated
- Robotic technology: robotic devices are used in repetitive movements of the impaired limbs
- Wireless technology: use of any activity monitor to increase the patient’s activity
- Virtual reality: the use of video games in therapy
Cognitive and emotional activities
- Therapy for cognitive disorders: regaining cognitive abilities with occupational/speech therapy
- Therapy for communication disorders: speech therapy for speaking, listening, writing comprehension
- Psychological evaluation and treatment: how well you cope emotionally is tested
- Medication: antidepressants that affect alertness, agitation or movement
- Noninvasive brain stimulation: transcranial magnetic stimulation for instance to improve motor skills
- Alternative therapy: massage, herbal therapy, acupuncture, oxygen therapy, etc.
Life after stroke
Stroke is not the end of life. And it’s definitely beatable. By opting for rehabilitation it’s possible to recover from a stroke. While it may seem overwhelming, rehabilitation can help a stroke patient regain their strength, courage, confidence and independence.
Like many other conditions, stroke is not the end of the road. With proper physical and mental exercise, a stroke victim can start enjoying life in all its beauty!