Every year, about 5 million people in the World die from this disease, and out of 15 million people who survive, every fifth will experience another one in the next 5 years. Only 1 in 10 surviving patients fully recovers, while as many as 40% of them remain moderately or severely disabled.
In the text you will read below, we will address the question concerning what is the treatment for stroke patients, and what are the best methods for recovery and rehabilitation of these patients.
Here are some quick links to what we’ll cover in this article. If you’re in hurry, or for any other reason, feel free to use the quick links to jump straight to the section you want to read:
- What do practices, research, and statistics say about stroke?
- What methods exist?
- Is a stroke always fatal?
- Emergency intervention
- Surgical methods of treatment
- What after a stroke? Rehabilitation – Recovery
- Best practices
- How do we know that a patient has functionally recovered?
Lowering blood pressure in people who have suffered a stroke can significantly reduce the probability of the next stroke, Australian experts claim.
Using a combination of drugs to lower blood pressure can prevent half a million heart attacks a year (a study done on 6,000 patients from 10 countries).
If antihypertensives are given to patients who have had this disease, the next stroke can be prevented by 25 to 50%.
A study conducted by American experts based on a study of 3,180 patients between the ages of 30 and 79 found that people who do not have a diuretic in their therapy have an as much as 85% higher risk of having a stroke. Diuretics are especially effective in lowering systolic (upper) pressure, and it is directly related to this disease.
Definitely, the best drugs in such situations are those that represent a combination of several natural amino acids. These drugs improve memory, attention, and motor activity, eliminate mental fatigue and have a beneficial effect on the general abilities of the respiratory organs as well as the heart. They are successful in people who have suffered a stroke or have the disease due to poor circulation in the brain. And here you can find the best dietary supplements from the category of recovery and amino acids.
Hypothermia – Many years ago, a stroke bag was placed on the head of stroke patients. It is not clear how this cooling protects the brain from damage, but experts assume that it reduces the inflammatory process and releases harmful substances that occur due to the stopped blood flow.
Cooling – Lowering the body temperature of these people can prevent permanent brain damage. If the temperature drops immediately after a stroke with alcohol friction, there is a higher chance that the patient will recover.
Brain scans indicate that the size of the brain damage decreases if the body cools down. (Dr. Derrick Krieger, Cleveland, USA). Since it is not possible to cool only the brain, the doctors had to cool the whole body, which caused discomfort to the patient, so they had to be unconscious and connected to a breathing apparatus.
At the “Henry Ford” health center in Detroit, USA, an experiment was successfully performed on rabbits, where an attempt was made to help the survivors of a stroke with a bone marrow injection.
Bone marrow cells are “smart” and have the ability to move through the human body and go to places that are injured. There, they literally turn into factories that repair “damaged tissue”.
Umbilical cord tissue could be used to treat stroke patients. Umbilical cord cells have the ability to transform into other types of tissue. Patients should receive this therapy in the first 24 hours.
Lasers can be used to remove blood clots in the brain that caused a stroke if applied between 8 and 24 hours after the stroke and depending on where the clot is located. This method is used routinely, mainly in more severe forms.
After transplanting nerve cells into the part of the brain affected by the stroke, in the vast majority of cases, there is a successful recovery. The inserted nerve cells begin to grow and merge with the rest of the mass. Six months later, the effect of gray matter mass recovers by approximately 10%, while patients’ mental and physical abilities improve.
Fortunately, it is not, but the worst outcome occurs in 5 to 10% of patients. The consequences mainly depend on the place where the circulation is interrupted.
In any case, in terms of frequency, this disease is the third leading cause of death in the world (after cardiovascular diseases and cancer), the third leading cause of illness among all diseases, and the first leading cause of disability.
Unlike other organs, the brain alone has four arterial blood vessels. Its blood needs are five times greater than the needs of the heart muscle, and 25 times greater than those of skeletal muscle.
When blood does not feed the brain for only 7 seconds, consciousness is lost. After 17 seconds, the gray cells begin to die out, and after seven minutes, every attempt to save the patient remains unsuccessful. In any case, the brain is the organ that requires the most oxygen and glucose.
1. If conscious, bring the patient to bed, head and shoulders slightly raised (for example 2 pillows under head and shoulders)
2. Turn the head to the side to allow the liquid to drain
3. Release the sick person from scarves, ties, unbutton them, unbutton his pants or skirt so that he can breathe easier
4. Control your pulse, breathing rate and observe every 10 minutes if the person responds to touch
5. In case the heart stops working, start resuscitation as in a heart attack.
Timely therapy is crucial for a stroke and it should start in the first 3 hours after the stroke. In any case, it is necessary to transfer the patient to the hospital as soon as possible.
The most reliable way to prevent a stroke is surgery on the arteries of the neck. Today, for example, thousands of such preventive operations are performed annually in America. For such an intervention, timely diagnosis in the first 6 hours of the disease is of great importance. The operation itself is considered routine and does not take more than 15 minutes.
There are the following:
1. Removal of a blood clot from the carotid artery
2. Removal of atherosclerotic thickenings that narrow the carotid artery by more than 60%
3. And quite rarely, the promotion of extracranial and intracranial blood vessels (by-pass).
This phenomenon regularly damages a part of the brain, which results in partial or complete deprivation of the parts of the body controlled by a part of the brain, as well as damage to mental functions. That is why many patients need care and well-organized rehabilitation in order to become independent again – to make the most of the remaining functions and abilities.
Therefore, rehabilitation begins in the first weeks and takes place in two phases, acute and subacute, which involve taking a number of measures in the period from 3 weeks to 3 months.
Such programs are designed with the intention of primarily acting on motor activity (muscle and joint mobility), and in addition, of course, on the mental and social activity of patients.
A whole team of specialist doctors participates in the treatment: internist, neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, physiatrist, and speech therapist.
The role of the family is invaluable and it is in fact irreplaceable. At home, the patient is trained faster and progresses faster in daily exercises. He does not learn again, but only renews previously acquired knowledge and experiences, which is far easier in a familiar environment, where he has encouragement at all times.
Rehabilitation is a long and complex process. Upon its completion, patients can be classified into 3 groups:
1. Those who are dependent on someone else’s care and help in almost all activities
2. Those who are dependent on someone else’s help only to perform certain activities and actions
3. Those who have no significant prospects for resuming daily life activities
One-third of the survivors suffer from chronic muscle spasms, which makes it very difficult to control hand movements.
Recent research has shown that Botox injections have a beneficial effect on muscles and relieve pain.
In the immobility phase after a stroke, it is extremely important to pay attention to the following things:
- The position of the patient lying in bed
- Position of stiff limbs
- Change of position in bed
- Functional position of the hand and foot for walking
- Protection against pressure ulcers (wounds caused by pressure due to prolonged same position of one part of the body)
- Urination and stool control
Walking – Everyday half-hour walk raises the level of blood plasminogen, a substance that participates in the breakdown of blood clots (thrombus formation)
Exercising in front of a mirror helps people who are partially paralyzed to regain limb movements due to the consequences. With this technique, people try to imitate the healthy with the paralyzed side.
Movement – here the rehabilitation is primarily focused on stretching the joints. Also, special attention is paid to eliminating involuntary muscle spasms.
Perception, memory – Stroke can disrupt many mental functions, so the goal here is to conduct exercises that the patient solves or at least tries to solve certain problems or tasks.
Speech – In a large percentage, this function in patients is very slow because it is difficult to coordinate the muscles that participate in the formation of sound.
Everyday life – There are many ways for a patient to learn to cope with everyday life situations, from the way they eat to taking care of themselves. Sometimes even the slightest movement is an extraordinary effort for the patient, but these are simply things that he must gradually get used to.
This assessment is made on the basis of general physical activity in everyday life; change of position in bed, cooperation in taking food, maintaining hygiene.
The highest degree of recovery is definitely a change of sitting position, as well as achieving the patient to stand in an upright position next to the bed, with the help of a nurse or a family member.
In recent years, one of the most effective methods in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from a stroke has been the stimulation of paralyzed muscles with electrodes in order to become artificially active. The basic principle of this method is biological feedback, ie reconstruction of information transmission pathways in brain cells or biofeedback for short.
Rehabilitation is usually carried out for about a year, as long as it takes for neurons to restore their function.
In any case, the recovery of patients is slow and it is not possible to predict at the beginning of treatment how fast the patient will recover and how successful he will be. After all, the end result also depends on the size of the brain damage.
We hope this post helped you learn what is the best treatment for stroke patients, what methods exist, tips for intervention and treatment, and of course, rehabilitation and recovery best practices.
And if you are looking for more ways to improve your heart health, you should check our other great Majota Blog posts.
Also, if you have any questions or feel that there is some other important symptom, the remedy, or treatment for stroke patients we have not listed, feel free to leave a comment, it will mean a lot to us and we will be grateful for it.