A Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells.
There are 2 different types:
An Ischemic Stroke is a blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain, ultimately causing a brain infarction (the death of brain tissue). Ischemic Stroke accounts for approximately 80% of all Stroke incidents. Ischemic Strokes can also be caused by either an abnormal narrowing or thickening of the artery wall. Also called Embolic Stroke or Thrombotic Stroke.
A Haemorrhagic Stroke is bleeding into or around the brain. Such strokes account for approximately 20% of all strokes. Also called Intracerebral Haemorrhage or Subarachnoid Haemorrhage. This can be caused following an injury or sudden rupture of blood vessels in the brain due to an underlying condition.
Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood (Ischemic Stroke) or when they are damaged by sudden bleeding into or around the brain (Haemorrhagic Stroke). When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, some brain cells die immediately, while others remain at risk of death. Due to the damage to the brain tissues the connection between the brain and your body is affected. This causes weakness in muscles, stiffness of muscles and joints, lack of awareness of the affected side of the body, and lack of sensation on the affected side, along with pain and other discomforts. Research suggests that starting rehabilitation sooner can enhance recovery and improve the quality of life post-stroke.
Once out of the acute (immediate) stage following a stroke, you will be treated in a rehabilitation setting or the community.
Physiotherapy – Specialist therapy can help with different challenges faced by people affected by Stroke (Neurological Physiotherapy). The common aims of rehabilitation can be:
Occupational Therapy – An OT can assist with the activities of daily living, help make adaptations and provide equipment for home and mobility. They will also support you in returning to work and leisure activities.
Speech and Language Therapy - A SLP can provide support, treatment and advice in communication, speech and swallowing.
Medical Management – Monitors and prescribes medication for pain relief, muscle spasms, and mood.
Psychologists, Dieticians and experts from other professions may also be involved.