What is Stroke About
Nowadays, cerebrovascular accident (CVA) which is commonly known as stroke was define as rapid neurological sign of disturbance of cerebral function, which lasting 24 hours or more, with no other causes than vascular origin.
There was two types of stroke, ischemic stroke (occlusion that affect cerebral blood flow), which is the most common type of stroke attack and hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain area).
It was increasing in number among Malaysian population and not only affect adult with several medical illnesses such as heart problems, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension but some cases was found among younger adult, with age range from 18 to 25 years old and adult without any medical illness, with unknown causes.
There are three main factors that can cause stroke, which are hypertension, high cholesterol, and low fruit and vegetables intake. Diabetes mellitus, physical inactivity, certain heart problems and previous stroke may be other risk factors to stroke attack.
Early signs of stroke can be detect by individuals themselves or by family member, which known as FAST; Face dropping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 999 if any of these signs was detected.
Therefore, with increase in number of stroke survivals among Malaysian, the needs of post-stroke rehabilitation, which include physiotherapy, was crucial as early as possible after the onset of stroke.
The recovery phase begins in acute and sub-acute phase, which start by first week of stroke onset and up to 26th weeks or six months post-stroke. This time period is the best time for post-stroke rehab as the injury still new and other complication such shoulder sub-luxation, muscle tightness, skin pressure ulcer, and joint contracture, still not build up yet. Thus, help the recovery to happen faster.
After six month post-stroke, it called chronic phase and during this time period, recovery still can happen but slower and difficult.
How can stroke survivals recover? It’s because of neuroplasticity, which is define as the ability of brain to form new neural connection to compensate the injury or changes in the brain’s environments.
Neuroplasticity can be easily understood by imagine that our neuron as the road and the pulse as us in a car in the traffic jammed. When one road was blocked, we will try anyhow to find another alternative road to reach our destination, no matter how right? It is just like the pulse in the brain of stroke survival.
The pulse in the brain will be stimulated mainly by physical movements, either passively or actively moved.
Therefore, physical movements help neuroplasticity to happen and rehabilitation was important to reduced burden that may developed after onset of stroke, which include individuals themselves, their family and also their society.
Physiotherapy help in physical problems such functional mobility and balance, improve stroke survivals’ quality of life, improve emotional status by encouraged independent transfer and mobility, improve muscle strength and endurance, improve joint sensation which may lost after stroke onset, prevent post-stroke complications and also other illnesses that may developed if the stroke survivals were not active, such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) and skin disease.
The stroke survival also need to believe that they can do it as it will stimulate the pulses between brain and muscles that work to make the physical part, such as hand or leg move.
In another side of view, family support was really important. Stroke survivals may be more emotional and easily give up on themselves. Thus, family support was definitely crucial in stroke recovery process, even though they may say they don’t want to or they cannot do.
Positive environments will encourage stroke survival to recover faster, be more active and feels motivated to do rehabilitation.
Family members need to believe that stroke survivals will recover and can be independent, just the speed of recovery may vary among individuals and may affected by other factors such as age, disability levels, stroke phase (acute, sub-acute or chronic), presence of rehabilitation, environments and family support.
Symptoms of Stroke
What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk?
Most strokes can be prevented. Although you cannot change some of the things that increase your risk of stroke, like your age, there are others that you can change.