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Rehabilitating stroke survivors

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Most stroke survivors reach a plateau after about three months, say doctors, but don’t be discouraged by that

Reproduced from:, published Oct. 29, 2019

One of the leading causes of disability and death globally is a stroke. The incidence of stroke is high in India as well – more than 18 lakh cases of stroke are reported in India every year. Despite this, there is little awareness about stroke due to which both treatment and rehabilitation is a challenge for many patients.

“The suddenness of the attack and the absence of clear symptoms makes it a deadly event as it allows only a small ‘window period’ where a patient can be treated successfully without any major disability,” says Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical, a home healthcare management organisation.

“We need a strong, centralised stroke action plan and a comprehensive written stroke management protocol in case of emergencies at all hospitals... an emergency transport service with an easy 24x7 access helpline that can reduce door-to-needle time to less than one hour... a stroke-specific diagnostic setup, including emergency neuro-imaging systems such as MRI and CT-scan facilities... readily accessible medical expertise for quick diagnosis as well as cost-effective post-stroke physiotherapy and rehab facilities,” says Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania

“Since recovery from stroke takes a long time many patients often drop out from rehabilitation programmes as a result of which a survivor’s responsibility falls on the family. Further, the cost of treatment, hospital admission and post-stroke rehab are high,” says Dr Sehgal. On the occasion of World Stroke Day, healthcare experts tell us how to best manage a stroke survivor.

Regular movement is must

Encourage a stroke survivor to be as much physically active as possible. Make a daily exercise routine in consultation with the doctor and see to it that the patient follows it. In case the patient is struggling with a task, offer help. But don’t be overbearing. Just be around so that you can step in when the situation demands.

Modify your house a bit

Stroke patients often have a problem of balancing their body which increases the risk of falling. Make certain changes in your home like install grab bars, place anti-slip mats to minimise the chances of falling.

Avoid OTC supplements

Don’t fall for OTC (Over The Counter) supplements that promise the moon. Do not take any over the counter drug. Always consult your doctor before going in for any supplement. Carefully monitor the side-effects of prescribed medicines. Contact your doctor immediately in case you notice any adverse change.

Motivate and encourage

Most stroke survivors reach a plateau after about three months, say doctors, but don’t be discouraged by that. The human brain has amazing powers and keeping a positive attitude will help a great deal. Tackle emotional outbursts with love and care.

Manage risk factors

Check all body parameters like blood pressure and blood sugar regularly. If you notice any fluctuations, consult a doctor immediately

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