In America, stroke is the third leading cause of death. The brain and heart rely on each other to sustain basic functionality of the human body. The brain controls a large portion of the body’s range of capabilities and nerve signaling. Your brain has multiple purposes, but a single stroke can put those critical functions at risk. Communication, memory, emotional activity, and physical capabilities can all be affected when the brain is not operating at its utmost potential.
Difference Between a Stroke and a Heart Attack
A stroke and a heart attack may seem similar but are very different. Both ailments occur due to a shortage of oxygenated blood and blood flow, except strokes primarily affect the brain while heart attacks mainly target the heart. When the body’s blood flow to the heart is blocked, sometimes due to a blood clot, it can cause a heart attack. A stroke, on the other hand, can cause possible brain tissue to decay and long-term disability or death.
The leading cause of strokes is anything that leads to blocked blood supply or a burst blood vessel, cutting off the oxygen flow to the brain. A number of risk factors for a stroke, such as high cholesterol and obesity, can be medically managed or treated. Nevertheless, as with certain terminal conditions, particular risk factors are more challenging to address.
An individual’s lifestyle has a considerable effect on their health. Harmful choices can lead to chronic illnesses with detrimental long-term consequences. Nearly everything that goes into the body has the potential to affect your physical and emotional well-being. For example, eating highly processed fast food can possibly make the person feel groggy and lethargic, while a plant-based diet can help support a healthy immune system.
Controllable risk factors for a stroke are:
- Lack of exercise
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
Uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Age: The risk of having a stroke doubles every ten years after the age of fifty-five.
- Race: Black and nonwhite Hispanic Americans are affected more than white Americans.
- Gender: Although strokes occur more regularly in men, women are more prone to suffer one later in life, placing them at higher danger of nonrecovery.
- Family history: Strokes are more likely to occur within families that carry genetic disorders.
Even if someone is taking good care of their body and do not carry any genetic risk factors, they can still be at risk due to:
- Geography: Strokes happen more in southeastern America than in the rest of the country, perhaps due to elements of the regional culture such as diet.
- Climate: Extreme temperatures increase the risk of a stroke.
- Economic and social circumstances: Particular evidence suggests that stroke cases are more prevalent in low-income communities.
To properly treat a stroke, doctors must first determine the causes of the symptoms through a CT scan or other stroke tests. Stroke tests vary from simple physical analysis and blood analysis to more involved procedures such as echocardiograms, cerebral angiograms, MRI scans, or carotid ultrasounds. About a quarter of stroke survivors will suffer a second stroke, making immediate treatment vital.
Some steps to help stroke patients recover include seeking support and therapy, monitoring medications, being on the lookout for dizziness or imbalance, ensuring a healthy diet, and keeping the brain active. It is crucial to remember that recovering from a traumatic brain injury such as a stroke takes time and patience.
Recovery can be a long-term process. Hence, it is imperative to understand how the body and brain are affected. Refer to the following infographic made by Family Home Health Services for further information on brain recovery as well as stroke-prevention practices to incorporate into everyday life.
Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States with around 140,000 people succumbing to them every year. What’s more worrisome is that Stroke Center reveals that nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, putting the elderly at immense risk. And while we’ve already provided several tips on how to recover from a stroke in our video 7 Steps to Stroke Recovery, there is another method that could prove beneficial to stroke victims.
While yoga isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of activities for the elderly, it’s a pretty good source of exercise for those who have reached an advanced age. Case in point, 94-year-old world champion ballroom dancer Tao Porchon-Lynch swears by the mental and physical benefits that she gets from yoga. That said, how can these benefits affect those in stroke recovery?
One of the biggest hindrances that come with a stroke is its lingering effects on the survivor’s balance and range of motion. Most stroke survivors find it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as walking or operating household devices.
Yoga’s focus on poses and posture addresses these physical issues and strengthens the practitioners’ bodies, improving their flexibility and range of motion. Health writer Carol Krucoff details how yoga can help seniors improve their balance, strength, and agility. She notes that seniors have to be extra careful, as they are more prone to injury due to their age. This especially applies to stroke survivors who may have trouble with the poses at the start, but this is an endeavor worth undertaking for stroke recovery.
One of the biggest hindrances to recovery when it comes to strokes is the toll it takes on the survivor’s emotional well-being. The American Stroke Association emphasizes how common depression is in stroke survivors due to both biochemical changes in the brain and the shifts in the psyche of the survivor.
This is why stroke survivors need not only address the physical challenges of recovering, but also the inner challenges that it poses. Fortunately, yoga has a solution for this as well. Lifestyle writer Jane Adamson highlights the spiritual benefits of yoga, as it helps one find inner peace amidst difficulty. This is because yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that aims to, above all else, help its practitioners achieve a sense of serenity. This is in line with the teachings of yoga that highlight the connection between mind and body, meaning that taking care of one aspect also positively influences the other.
A stroke is sometimes called a brain attack because it occurs when your brain stops getting the oxygen that it needs to function. This is why survivors need help rewiring their brains after a stroke, as going through that sort of trauma leaves lasting effects. Yoga helps break through the mental barriers that come with stroke recovery. In the early stages of recovery, survivors find it difficult to make their bodies do what their brains want them to. And while some may argue the validity of this, a case reported in The Guardian narrates how a stroke patient can regain their sight after going through intensive brain training.
It isn’t a stretch to attribute yoga’s focus training to alleviating the mental blocks that come with surviving a stroke. Indeed, yoga’s emphasis on focus and being present in one’s body should aid in the survivor’s overall journey to recovery and rehabilitation.
Written exclusively for Senior-care-central.com
by Gwen Watson