Adjusting to a New Normal: After a Stroke
There are 2 major kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. During an ischemic stroke, a blood clot is blocking a vessel in the brain. During a hemorrhagic stroke, there is bleeding in the brain. Both types of stroke leave patients with similar deficits, but treatment differs.
After patients are treated for a stroke, next steps involve physical, occupational and/or speech therapy to learn to cope with deficits they’re left with. A stroke will often leave someone with a weak left or right side. Therapy helps patients adjust to and create a new normal in their lives.
Most stroke patients ask: Will I suffer from a stroke again? The answer is sometimes yes. In order to minimize risk, prevention is key:
- Manage blood pressure, as a high BP often leads to a stroke.
- Keep cholesterol in check.
- Diabetics should manage their blood sugar.
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain wellness through a good diet and nutrition.
Both patients and caregivers should seek support to adjust to a new normal after a stroke. Cone Health has a number of support groups in Alamance, Guilford and Rockingham counties for stroke survivors that offer social interaction and an opportunity to connect with those who can share resources and tips for recovery. Those caring for someone after a stroke also often have to adjust to a new normal, so seeking both emotional and physical support from others is key.
To learn more about support groups offered in your community, visit conehealth.com/classes.
Megan Millikan is a nurse practitioner at Guilford Neurologic Associates and member of Cone Health Medical Group. She received her bachelor’s of nursing from Lynchburg College and master’s in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.