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Stroke

post stroke, cognitive rehabilitation for stroke

Introduction to Stroke

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, leading to potentially severe consequences. This disruption can occur due to blockage or rupture of arteries supplying the brain, resulting in bleeding. The impact of a stroke can affect one or both sides of the brain, presenting survivors with a variety of challenges and complications.

Common Complications

Common complications resulting from a stroke include cognitive, psychological, and physical problems. These may manifest as deficits in processing speed, memory, language, attention, executive functioning, visual-spatial, and motor skills.

Language Impairment (Aphasia)

A stroke survivor may have aphasia or language loss if it occurs on the left side of the brain. Aphasia can significantly impede communication and daily functioning. Survivors typically engage with speech, occupational, and physical therapists to regain language skills and improve communication and motor abilities.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Recovering from a stroke often requires comprehensive rehabilitation efforts. Typically, they collaborate with speech, occupational, and physical therapists to address the diverse impacts of their unique stroke. Because of the exceptional abilities of the different skills and training of the team, each individual receives a tailored rehabilitation program; individuals aim to restore lost abilities, enhance functional independence, and improve the overall quality of life.

The 3 Different Types of Strokes

Ischemic strokes occur when a clot forms within the arteries or veins of the brain, disrupting blood flow to brain tissue. This blockage typically results from the accumulation of fatty deposits within blood vessels, leading to reduced blood flow and clot formation. If a clot dislodges and travels to the brain, it can obstruct vital blood supply, depriving brain tissue of essential nutrients, oxygen, and blood.

Prevalence and Importance

Ischemic strokes represent the most common type of stroke, accounting for approximately 87% of all cases. This widespread occurrence underscores the significance of understanding and addressing the risk factors associated with ischemic strokes.

Similar to ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes involve a disruption in blood flow to the brain, but in this case, it occurs due to the rupture or leakage of a blood vessel within the brain. Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of a hemorrhagic stroke, including uncontrolled high blood pressure, aneurysms, trauma, protein deposits, and even preceding ischemic events.

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), commonly referred to as a ministroke, manifests as temporary stroke-like symptoms lasting for a brief period. While TIAs do not typically result in permanent damage, they serve as vital warning signs of potential underlying issues within the circulatory system.

 

Mechanism and Relation to Ischemic Stroke

A TIA occurs when there is a temporary reduction in blood flow to a part of the nervous system, often due to a clot or debris blocking a blood vessel. This mechanism parallels that of an ischemic stroke, wherein a clot obstructs blood flow to the brain. Hence, TIAs are considered warning signs for the potential occurrence of an ischemic stroke.

What are the symptoms?

How can one determine the signs of a stroke? Just remember the word FAST. 

 

F: Facial Weakness – Ask the person to smile, see one side of their face droops.

 

A: Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Check if one arm is unable to rise or one arm drifts downwards.

 

S: Speech Problems – Ask the person to repeat something simple like, “The sky is blue.” Check if their speech is slurred or abnormal.

 

T: Time to call 9-1-1 – If you have observed any of these signs, it is time to call 9-1-1. Remember that call could save a life.

 There are more identifying symptoms to help recognize when one is going through a stroke. Some of the other symptoms to look out for include:

 

  • Sudden weakness on one side of the body.
  • Difficulty finding words or slurred speech. 
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion.
  • Sudden dizziness or a sudden fall.
  • A sudden, severe headache 

 

person smoking a cigarette is at risk of having a stroke

What can cause someone to have a stroke?

There are many causes, some factors are preventable, while others may not be. Preventable risk factors include:

  • Gaining weight, becoming overweight or obese
  • Inability to complete physical activity
  • Heavy drinking
  • Use of illegal drugs
    • Commonly cocaine and methamphetamine

Can you prevent a stroke?

You can not 100% prevent one from occurring, but implementing the following items may decrease your risk of having one: Quit smoking (if currently smoking), avoid the use of drugs, moderate alcohol consumption, and make healthy food choices. Additionally, you can maintain a healthy weight for your age, sex, and height, drink enough water throughout the day, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

What are the potential long-term symptoms?

The long-term effects of a stroke can vary widely among individuals, depending on factors such as the type, severity, and location of the stroke, as well as the effectiveness of rehabilitation and support services. Addressing the physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges faced by stroke survivors is essential for optimizing recovery, enhancing quality of life, and promoting overall well-being. Access to comprehensive rehabilitation programs, psychological support, and ongoing medical care can play a crucial role in helping individuals navigate the journey of stroke recovery successfully.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Personality changes
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Increased Stress
  • Physical Pain
  • Sensory Impairments
  • Cognitive Challenges

What Can Be Done for Patients?

Tailored Rehabilitation Solutions for Stroke Survivors

Stroke survivors often face a multitude of challenges, requiring personalized and adaptable rehabilitation strategies to address their cognitive and physical needs effectively. HappyNeuron Pro offers a comprehensive solution for clinical providers to deliver targeted and customized cognitive rehabilitation therapy.

 

Customized Cognitive Rehabilitation

HappyNeuron Pro provides clinical providers with a versatile platform to tailor rehabilitation programs to the specific needs of each survivor. Whether addressing communication deficits, memory impairments, or executive functioning challenges, HappyNeuron Pro offers engaging and interactive exercises designed to target and improve cognitive abilities.

 

Addressing Communication Complications

Many stroke survivors experience difficulties with communication, including aphasia and speech impairments. HappyNeuron Pro offers specialized exercises focused on language skills, articulation, and comprehension, enabling individuals to regain and strengthen their communication abilities over time.

 

Enhancing Memory and Executive Functioning

Memory loss and difficulties with executive functioning can significantly impact daily functioning and independence. HappyNeuron Pro provides a variety of memory-enhancing exercises and activities aimed at improving recall, attention, planning, and problem-solving skills, empowering survivors to manage their daily tasks and activities better.

 

Promoting Independence and Quality of Life

By incorporating HappyNeuron Pro into rehabilitation programs, clinical providers can support survivors in achieving their goals and maximizing their potential for recovery. Through targeted cognitive rehabilitation, individuals can regain confidence, independence, and quality of life following a stroke, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being and long-term outcomes.

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Recommended exercises

Now, each stroke patient’s needs will vary based on the effects each individual has experienced from a stroke. We recommend getting familiar with all of our exercises. You can learn more about each exercise on our site, including our memory, language, executive functioning, and visual-spatial exercises, and discern which exercises best fit your patient’s needs. Here are a few HappyNeuron Pro exercises most commonly used with post-stroke rehabilitation.

Memory Exercises

I Remember You!

Visual and verbal working memory 

Heraldry

Attention, visual working memory

An American In Paris

Verbal and visual working memory

Language Exercises

Embroidery

Strategy 

Secret Files

Working memory, reasoning 

Root it Out

Lexical Spelling 

Attention Exercises

Find Your Way! 

Planning

Private Eye

Visual Attention 

Ancient Writing

Pattern Recognition  

Interested in trying our digital tools?

Pulling from our decades of experience in Cognitive Therapeutics, we aim to help you enrich your practice through the use of digital and paper tools.