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Therapy and rehab for stroke survivors

Stroke survivors often encounter physical, cognitive or emotional challenges after their stroke. Rehab helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged.  Participating in physical or occupational therapy can be extremely beneficial in assisting patients and their families in the recovery process.

Physical therapists commonly examine, evaluate, and treat stroke patients, facilitating progress towards restoring function, reducing pain, and preventing further injuries or complications.  This therapy is a form of exercise treatment to help with mobility, strength and general function based upon the individual’s needs.

Occupational therapists focus on occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. They develop individualized care plans that may include adaptations for how to perform tasks, changes to the survivor’s surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.  These plans are designed to ...

2013 Heart & Stroke Walk

On October 26th the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association will be hosting the 2013 Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk in Seattle.

On average, someone in the U.S. experiences a stroke every 40 seconds.  Stroke can be a devastating disease, leaving many survivors with significant disabilities and leaving a permanent footprint on the lives of loved ones. 

The Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk gives us the opportunity to honor the survivors in our lives or the loved ones we have lost as we continue the fight to prevent stroke and improve stroke treatments. 

I will be walking in honor of ..

Cholesterol and stroke awareness

September is also National Cholesterol Awareness month!

Do you know your numbers? It is important to know your cholesterol levels as they influence your risk of stroke.  Talk to your provider today to find out where you stand!

Do you have trouble remembering “good” cholesterol versus “bad” cholesterol?  An easy way to keep them straight is to think HDL = happy (“good” cholesterol) and LDL = lousy (“bad” cholesterol).  Check out the American Heart Association’s Meet the Fats for memorable information about cholesterol.

How does cholesterol affect stroke risk?  Build-up of cholesterol plaque within your arteries increases your risk of stroke by blocking normal blood flow.  This reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area.

How can you improve your cholesterol numbers?

Atrial fibrillation (afib) awareness

September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness month! 

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm that may lead to increased risk of stroke or other heart-related problems.  

Common signs and symptoms of afib include:

  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest
  • Faintness, dizziness or weakness
  • Shortness of breath and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

For individuals with atrial fibrillation or flutter, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  This includes following ....

Summer Activities for Stroke Survivors

Stroke is often a significant disruption to the life of the survivor and their care partners both physically and emotionally.  While recovering from stroke is a challenging journey, it doesn’t mean you cannot do what you love.

Summer is a great time to establish or update your recovery goals with an emphasis on fun and enjoyment.  Ask yourself:

  • What hobbies or interests did you participate in prior to your stroke?
  • What hobbies or interests were you curious to try prior to your stroke?

And then ask yourself, your doctors and your therapists how old favorites and new activities can be modified to fit your changed abilities. You may be surprised at the number of options available!

There are several ideas and suggestions provided by the AHA/ASA regarding ways to continue gardening, golfing, and other physical activities. 

Remember that ...

Dysphagia and Stroke

Gulp! 

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common challenge for stroke survivors.  Up to 78% of stroke patients will experience some degree of dysphagia with those patients being 7 times more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia.  Aspiration occurs when, instead of being swallowed, food or beverages are inhaled into the lungs.  This can lead to pneumonia and possibly death. 

It is vital to follow....

What is aphasia?

Stroke patients often suffer from communication challenges called aphasia.  Aphasia is complex and there are many potential communication challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Trouble speaking – this may be displayed as hesitancy or stuttering, use of words that seem out of context, or the inability to speak at all (mute)
  • Trouble finding words – inability to put thoughts into words
  • Problems understanding what others say
  • Problems with reading, writing, or math
  • Inability to process long words and infrequently used words

This is often frustrating for the patient and their care partners.  It is important to remember that aphasia is related to the ability to communicate and does not reflect a change in intelligence.

There are several great resources for patients living with aphasia and their care partners:

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