Top 10 Tips to Recover from a Stroke


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February 2, 2012, last updated February 24, 2013
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist


Suffering a stroke is tough and terrifying but recovery from a
stroke is where the hard work starts. Around 795,000
Americans suffer a stroke each year, according to the National
Stroke Association. A stroke is the name given to describe
cerebral vascular accident – the sudden collapse of part of your
brain due to obstructed blood flow or bleeding in the brain.  
Anyone suffering a stroke, a life-threatening condition, needs
immediate medical attention to limit the damage.

Recovery from a stroke can be slow and painstaking and it is
often a lifelong process, depending on the extent and the
location of the damage. A full 50% of stroke patients have to
live with hemiparesis (weakness of the muscles on one side of
your body), 35% have depression, 26% must depend on
others to function in their daily lives, and 19% have aphasia
(trouble with language), according to a 2013 study from Burke-
Cornell Medical Research Institute in New York.

If you suffer a stroke, is there anything you can do to speed
the process of recovery? What can you do to help prevent
another stroke?

What Causes a Stroke?

Most strokes are caused by hardening of the arteries supplying
blood to the brain – atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is caused
by those “silent killers” ---
high blood pressure, diabetes and
high cholesterol. Smoking also causes atherosclerosis.

According to the National Stroke Association, you are 40
percent more likely to suffer another (recurrent) stroke within
five years of suffering your first. At least one quarter – 24
percent of women and 42 percent of men – of all the Americans
who have a stroke will have another in their lifetime. A second
stroke is even more dangerous as parts of your brain may
already be damaged by the first and will not be so resilient.
How can you manage your risk and cut the odds of another,
possibly fatal, attack?

10 Tips to Recover from a Stroke

The good news is there are things you can do to cut your risk
and prevent a recurrent stroke. Stroke recovery begins with
formal rehabilitation until sufferers can be independent with
functioning physical, emotional and mental processes. After
this, there are things within your control that help you recover.

We’ve looked at the medical evidence to compile a must-do list
of the Top 20 tips in your stroke recovery plan.



























1.
Stop Smoking to Cut Recurrent Stroke Risk

Smoking doubles the risk for another stroke, according to the
National Stroke Association. When you are recovering from a
stroke, the last thing you should do is light up. Smoking slashes
the amount of oxygen in the blood and makes the heart work
much harder, increasing the risk of blood clots and build-up in
the arteries. Reduce your risk of a second stroke by quitting for
good.

2.
Be More Active to Recover from a Stroke

If you increase your physical activity and exercise for a short
time, most days of the week, you are less likely to have another
stroke and more likely to recover quickly from your first stroke.

Research in 2003 by the West Texas A&M University
demonstrated that highly active individuals had a 27 percent
lower risk of stroke or death from stroke than hardly active
individuals. Exercise as a therapy following stroke is essential
to help repair damage and aid recovery.

A 2005 study from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Geriatrics Research, Education, and Clinical Center, University
of Maryland School of Medicine showed that treadmill exercises
improved function, mobility and cardiovascular fitness in
patients with chronic stroke, and were more effective than
conventional rehabilitation.

[Update:

How Active Must You Be to Reduce Your Risk of Stroke?

Studies have consistently found that the more active you are,
the lower your risk if stroke. While the studies differ a bit on
their definitions of what constitutes being "active", most
studies call you "inactive" or a person of "low activity" if you
exercise less than once a week. Those who exercise at least
three times a week are considered "highly active". For example,
a 10-year study of women by the National Institute of Public
Health in Norway found the highest incidence of stroke among
women who exercised less than once a week.  This was true
even though Norwegian women in the study had a low body
weight (
BMI of 27.6) compared to the average body weight of
American women.  Bottom line: aim to exercise at least three
times a week to assure a reduction in your risk of stroke.]

3.
Homeopathy for Recovery after a Stroke?

Many people have suggested that homeopathy is an effective,
cost-effective method of helping stroke recovery. Is this true?
Unfortunately two studies (Savage RH and Roe PF; 1977 and
1978) that tested the effectiveness of one such homeapathic
remedy --- arnica --- on stroke recovery did not find
statistically significant improvements. Other homeopathic
remedies for the treatment of stroke include belladonna and
gelsemium.

4.
Policosanol Helps You Recover From a Stroke

Policosanol is a mix of substances usually made from sugarcane
in Cuba that, apparently, reduces the blood’s tendency to clot.
Along with aspirin – which also has this quality – herbs and
supplements like policosanol are recommended after a stroke
because they help prevent blood clots, thus cutting the chances
of stroke. In a 1997 study from the Centre of Natural Products,
CNIC, Habana, Cuba 43 people used policosanol every day and
it proved as effective as 100mg of aspirin in reducing blood
clots. The effect was even greater when policosanol was taken
with aspirin. Policosanol is also said to be a cholesterol-
reducer, making it potentially a powerful stroke recovery tool.
However, because there is a small chance that policosanol could
thin the blood too much it should be used with caution.

5.
Music Can Help You Recover from a Stroke

Continue reading  page 1  page 2

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