Stroke and rehabilitation

Every stroke survivor can be different since the brain is a very complicated structure which is responsible for all of the sensory and motor functions of the human body, but the typical appearance of stroke includes facial drooping, one side of arm and leg weakness, difficulty in balancing and walking, and changes in speech or slurred speech.

Jan 10, 2020

By Joseph Wong / Jeffrey Anak Agnes
Ow Pei Ling’s presentation was on Stroke. According to her, stroke is a sudden loss of neurological functions caused by interruption of blood flow to the brain. Every stroke survivor can be different since the brain is a very complicated structure which is responsible for all of the sensory and motor functions of the human body, but the typical appearance of stroke includes facial drooping, one side of arm and leg weakness, difficulty in balancing and walking, and changes in speech or slurred speech.

Research has shown that stroke is the third leading cause of death with high prevalence of adults affected by stroke in Malaysia. Hence, it is important for the public to know more about stroke and how to prevent it.

Stroke can be caused by blockage from blood clot or fatty plaque (ischemic stroke), or rupture of blood vessels (haemorrhagic stroke). She introduced the audience to Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which is well known as “mini stroke”, also another main sub-type of stroke.

It is usually overlooked by the public as none of the neurological dysfunctions will remain after the incident. She advised seeking medical assistance as studies have found that people with TIA have high chances of getting a full blown stroke in the near future after the TIA onset.

Ow further explored the risk factors of stroke which include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, unhealthy diet, smoking and obesity. Women have a higher tendency to get stroke during early menopause, pregnancy, during delivery and the first six months after pregnancy due to regulation of estrogen.

However, she stressed that stroke can be prevented by monitoring blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar level, eating healthy, engaging in at least moderate intensity of physical activities, losing body weight if needed, quitting cigarette smoking, consulting a doctor on usage of aspirin and other medications, and having regular health screening.

She emphasised that time is everything for stroke. It is very crucial to act “FAST” to call 999 for help when any of the typical signs of stroke (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech problem, Time to call 999) is identified. It is important to address post stroke depression in stroke survivors or their caregivers, and engage stroke survivors in stroke rehab to regain their physical function as soon as possible because six months after stroke onset is so called the “golden period of recovery” in stroke recovery.

Ow showed some proven studies on the advantages of rehabilitation on functional recovery in stroke cases. She also shared that walking is a very important milestone to achieve for stroke survivors because it can boost their confidence level significantly.

Ow advised parishioners to live a healthy lifestyle and to be more aware of their health as aging is part of living but stroke is not.

The Q & A session after each talk was fun and informative, and in appreciation, the audience gave a big applause to the presenters Jeffrey Anak Agnes and Ow Pei Ling at the end of the day.--Today's Catholic

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