5 Ways to Improve Recovery After a Stroke

The following content is created in partnership with Memorial Healthcare System. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Miami's editorial staff. Click here to learn more about Memorial Healthcare System.

Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke is a medical condition that occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either interrupted or reduced. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.

Life after suffering a stroke represents a radical transformation for most affected people, though the effects of a stroke vary based on the location of the obstruction and the extent of brain tissue affected. Learning to live with new challenges following a stroke is essential. Here are some conditions that may develop after a stroke.

Emotional effects. Following a stroke, it’s common for patients to suffer from depressive symptoms, anxiety or having difficulties expressing emotions or exaggerated changes in mood, which is known as emotional lability.

Physical challenges. Stroke patients often suffer a decrease in physical ability that can limit their ability to perform daily activities. Some stroke patients may endure a loss of strength, lack of coordination or loss of movement control and balance problems.

Many stroke survivors have visual impairment, including poor visual memory, decreased depth perception and reading problems. Difficulties in communication may be the most common problem. This condition known as aphasia can affect patients’ ability to speak, read, write and listen. Similarly, cognitive dysfunction is a frequent complication in stroke victims.

Social consequences. Some evidence shows negative impacts on other aspects of patients' lives including issues returning to work life, detrimental effects on family life, deterioration in sexual relationships, unmet financial needs, and decrease in social activities.

Stroke Recovery

Although this disease is a major health problem across the country and manifests itself abruptly, receiving good care and rehabilitation can improve the chances for regaining independence and improving quality of life. Here are some treatments for managing post-stroke conditions.

Motor skills. Damage from a stroke often leaves arm and leg muscles and nerves incapable of receiving messages integral to movement and manipulating objects. Hospitals like Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) use advanced technologies to help patients improve a variety of motor skills. One of them is InMotion Robotics System, an innovative therapeutic device that helps initiate, evaluate and enhance the patient's own movement while giving constant visual and auditory feedback to the brain to enhance overall movement of the arm. The ultimate goal is improved functional return of the elbow and hand.

Equally important, to improve fine motor skills after a stroke, patients need to rewire their brain with occupational therapy, also provided by Memorial, which helps the brain and the body re-establish neurological connections, improving the person's independence.

WalkAide is another revolutionary medical device used by Memorial that utilizes electrical stimulation to improve the walking ability of people suffering from neurological damage resulting in foot drop.

Real-life functionality. By providing to stroke patients with opportunities for interaction with environments similar to the real-world, they are able to work on self-care skills. In this sense, Memorial Healthcare System offers a simulated environment that helps patients practice everyday challenges before returning home, such as a fully functional apartment, grocery store, car, library and ATM.

New normal. Support groups for survivors and caregivers are key to recovering from a stroke. These groups provide community support during this challenging time. Acknowledging the importance of this type of environment, Memorial offers a support group for stroke patients where they and their loved ones can ask questions, tell stories, and discuss their experiences with people who have encountered similar issues.

Memorial Healthcare System combines advanced technologies with highly trained staff within a beautiful, therapeutic environment, to help patients recover as much as possible. Click here to learn more about stroke rehabilitation.

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