29th October 2023 was World Stroke day. The day set aside every year by world stroke organization to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention, treatment of the condition, institute skillful physiotherapy and ensure better care and support for survivors of stroke.
Stroke is a leading cause of death around the world, yet, that’s only one part of the story. Around the world according to statistics, there are approximately 80 million stroke survivors – more than 50 million of them live with some form of permanent disability.
Really, stroke survivors face significant challenges that include physical disability, communication difficulties, changes in how they think and feel, loss of work, income and social networks. For many, life after stroke won’t be quite the same; but, with the right care, support and rehabilitation by way of good physiotherapy, living a meaningful life is still possible imperative
A Stroke is rapidly loss of brain function. It happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or destroyed. This damage can have different effects depending on where it happens in the brain. Your body, mobility and speech, as well as how you think and feel, can all be affected. Recognizing the signs of a stroke such as drooping of the face on one side, one arm weaker than the other, difficulty in speaking or that the words are jumbled or slurred and getting medical help fast is one of the best ways to improve the outcome of a stroke.
The word stroke indicates that no one is even prepared for this sudden and catastrophic event. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the developed world. It is common in Africa, but the exact prevalent rate in Nigeria has not been determined.
Stroke often leaves a trail of unpalatable changes on its unsuspecting victim; the devastating shock the victim suffers when he realizes that in a moment , without prior warning, he has been denied the functional use of one half of his body. Voluntary movement is lost. His arm and leg refuse to obey him. He becomes depressed, irritable and even aggressive. Why? Because he is thoroughly frightened and quite helpless to attend to his own needs. Worst still, he may not be able to speak or make himself understood. But he will understand all that is said to him. Weakness of one side of the face may be present causing food or water to dribble from the weak side of the mouth. Sight of course, may be affected.
Stroke can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age – from babies to children and teens to the elderly. The effects and the type of support needed after a stroke vary, too. What unites us is the resilience and determination of stroke survivors to build on the things that stroke can’t take away and keep going on our recovery journey. Nevertheless, the good news is that a stroke surviving victim can recoup some or all of his previous abilities when early rehabilitation by means of skillful physiotherapy care is put in place. For most stroke survivors, caregivers and families, life will be different. Accepting and adjusting to life after stroke is fundamental to your recovery and well-being. By working with your physiotherapist and developing new routines and tracking small step-by-step goals, you can make progress. By so doing it will not only bring solace to the stroke-disabled victim but will greatly improve his lost reflexes.
Administering good physiotherapy to stroke victims is somewhat labour-intensive. It is advisable to start when the patient is admitted in the hospital. He may be conscious or unconscious. Physiotherapy care is needed some reasons; first to prevent spasticity- i.e involuntary tightening of muscles of the affected limbs, enhancing circulation of blood, maintaining joint mobility, improving sensation and many other reasons. This can be done passively or assisted or actively using electro-medical device or hands-on techniques. Skillful Physiotherapy care is absolutely imperative if a stroke survivor does not want to be severely disabled
In line with the commemoration of the ideals of the world stroke day, the Omega physiotherapy and back pain care clinics, a member of World Stroke Organization, partnered STROKE-DISABILITY CARE INITIATIVE, Abuja, to offer a one day intervention physiotherapy care to stroke-disabled persons at Omega physiotherapy & back pain care clinics, 21 Emma Nnaemeka street, off Author Eze Avenue, of the relevance of physiotherapy care in restoring lost bodily functions of stroke survivors.
Dr Charles Chidi Ehirim (08033299222/ 08187524972)