Treatments for Stroke


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Treatment list for Stroke: The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Stroke includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Treatment of Stroke: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Stroke:

Treatments of Stroke discussion: Generally, there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent stroke are based on treating an individual's underlying risk factors. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening. Post-stroke rehabilitation is to overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Medication or drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. Surgery can be used to prevent stroke, to treat acute stroke, or to repair vascular damage or malformations in and around the brain. For most stroke patients, physical therapy is the cornerstone of the rehabilitation process. Another type of therapy involving relearning daily activities is occupational therapy (OT). OT also involves exercise and training to help the stroke patient relearn everyday activities such as eating, drinking and swallowing, dressing, bathing, cooking, reading and writing, and toileting. Speech therapy is appropriate for patients who have no deficits in cognition or thinking, but have problems understanding speech or written words, or problems forming speech. 1

Strokes caused by blood clots can be treated with clot-busting drugs such as TPA (tissue plasminogen activator). TPA must be given within 3 hours of the start of a stroke to be effective, and tests must be done first. This is why it is so important for a person having a stroke to get to a hospital fast.

Other medicines are used to treat and to prevent stroke. Anticoagulants such as warfarin and antiplatelet agents such as aspirin interfere with the blood's ability to clot and can play an important role in preventing stroke.

Surgery is sometimes used to treat or prevent stroke. For example, carotid endarterectomy is the surgical removal of fatty deposits clogging the carotid artery in the neck that could lead to a stroke. For hemorrhagic stroke, surgical treatment may include placing a metal clip at the base of an aneurysm or removing abnormal blood vessels. 2

Rehabilitation is a very important part of recovery for many stroke survivors. The effects of stroke may mean that you must change, relearn or redefine how you live. Stroke rehabilitation is designed to help you return to independent living.

Rehabilitation doesn't reverse the effects of a stroke. Its goals are to build your strength, capability and confidence so you can continue your daily activities despite the effects of your stroke. Rehabilitation services may include:

  • physical therapy to restore movement, balance and coordination

  • occupational therapy to relearn basic skills such as bathing and dressing oneself

  • speech therapy.

2

A stroke requires immediate medical care. If you think you are having a stroke, call 911. Research shows that treatment during the first few hours after stroke symptoms appear can be important for the best possible recovery. An emergency doctor or a neurologist (a doctor who diagnoses and treats disorders of the brain and nervous system) will provide emergency treatment. Then a family doctor, internist, or geriatrician can step in and provide continuing care.3

Rehabilitation should begin as soon as possible after the patient is stable. It often continues after the patient has gone home. Stroke rehabilitation includes many kinds of therapies: physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve balance and coordination; speech and language therapy; occupational therapy to improve eye-hand coordination and skills needed for tasks such as bathing and cooking. A team of health care experts (physicians, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, and speech and language specialists) coordinates activities for the patient and family.
Rehabilitation progress varies from person to person. For some, recovery is completed within weeks following a stroke; for others, it may take many months or years. Sometimes the damage from a stroke is so serious that the patient does not respond to rehabilitation and makes little or no progress toward recovery.3

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from NINDS Stroke Information Page: NINDS
2. excerpt from Stroke: NWHIC
3. excerpt from Stroke Prevention and Treatment - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: June 18, 2003

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