Prime Time Living - Page 23 - Stroke

Prime Time Living
- Page 23
occupational and speech therapists are all important to a positive outcome, the goal after a person has a stroke. Once patients get home, the rehabilitation team does patient follow up to ensure they optimize recovery.”

Baranoski stayed in Sinai’s ICU for a week as there were additional complications. She had fluid in her lungs and heart AFib had to be regulated. McCreary says, “The cardiologist talked to us and said they were going to try to regulate her heartbeat. He was a terrific doctor, explaining everything clearly so we could understand. When the medical team did rounds, I was invited to listen. I could hear the steps they were taking to get her well enough to leave the ICU.”

Once out of the ICU, Baranoski spent three weeks doing physical therapy at Sinai, then moved to Carroll Lutheran Village’s rehabilitation facility in Westminster for another three weeks before returning home. At first, relatives stayed but then she threw them out.

Baranoski picks up the story, “I have a nurse, occupational therapist, PT and speech therapy. They came at different times, but now it’s one day a week plus I do outpatient PT and exercises at home. I’m now ready to drive again.”

Prognosis Fast treatment (remember F.A.S.T.) means better outcomes. The sooner a clot is removed or a bleed stopped, the better your chance of recovery with fewer disabilities. A serious stroke, depending on where it occurs in the brain and how quickly it is treated, can affect your whole body and even cause paralysis. It can also be emotionally debilitating for the patient and the family. The recurrence of a stroke is also highly probable.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech. A stroke can lead to emotional problems. Stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions. Many stroke patients experience depression.

Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.” When Baranoski is tired, her voice gets week and, sometimes, she’ll mumble. “I often search for words, but they come back. And I know my limits. But I am determined and will regain my health. I’m just not patient and want it today.” She doesn’t allow herself to get overtired and knows her limits. Recently, she added a recumbent bike to strengthen her legs. And she has lots of support.

At Risk for a Stroke?

As mentioned above, up to 80% of strokes are preventable. The AANS lists the following factors, similar to those for heart disease, over which you have control. It’s in your best interest to know your numbers – your blood pressure and your cholesterol, for instance – so you can work to improve them with your primary care physician.

•Smoking: Decrease risk by quitting smoking. Risk may be increased further with the use some forms of oral contraceptives and are a smoker. There is recent evidence that long-term secondhand smoke exposure may increase the risk of stroke.

•High blood pressure: Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is the most important risk factor for stroke. Controlling blood pressure is crucial to stroke prevention.

•Carotid or other artery disease: The

Stroke, continued on page 24