Physical exercises for stroke survivors (Part 1)

What is stroke?

In the previous articles of Powertec, some discussions have been made regarding the nature of hypertension—its complications, prevention, and treatment. Among its complications, stroke is the worst because it could be fatal! Therefore, the occurrence of this complication must be prevented at all costs!

As in other parts of the human body, there are blood vessels which transport blood to the brain. The main difference, however, is that the blood vessels in the brain are so thin, and they were made by Mother Nature that way to allow an effective exchange of gases in it—that is, the oxygen must come in and the carbon dioxide must come out!That seemingly simple process cannot take place if the blood vessel wall in the brain is thick and impermeable!Among the different organs of the human body, the brain is the most sensitive to the availability of oxygen, and it cannot afford to have no oxygen for a long time! Otherwise, it is irreversibly damaged!

Being thin, the blood vessels in the brain cannot withstand high blood pressure! Thus, when the blood pressure of a person is not managed properly—unchecked and untreated—and it rises to a high level, well over and above 140/90 mm Hg for a long time, the blood vessel wall in the brain could rupture and burst, allowing the blood to flow in the brain substance. This medical occurrence is called stroke, or intracerebral hemorrhage, or intracerebral accident.

What are the complications and aftermath of stroke?

If the stroke is so massive and severe, the blood that flows into the brain substance may compress on the respiratory and/or the cardiac center(s) which control(s) the breathing and heart contractions, respectively! When this takes place, the person may die—thus, the need to properly control high blood pressure!

If the stroke is not so massive, the person may still live; however, he will harbor some complications, such as weakness of the extremities, slurring of speech, facial deformities resulting from the imbalance contractions of the muscles in the face, and inability to control urination and/or defecation. This situation will surely exact a lot of difficulties among the relatives who will care for the patient! It will be time consuming and very expensive!

What can be done for a stroke survivor?

Control of blood pressure

Being a hypertensive patient, s/he needs maintenance medication(s) for his/her blood pressure. S/he cannot afford not to take his/her medication(s), because if another episode of stroke takes place, s/he may die from it! The probability of death is higher among patients with repeat strokes than those who had it for the first time.

Control of blood sugar

More often than not, hypertensive patients are at the same time diabetics. If this is the case, the blood sugar must be controlled, too! Thus, the patient needs to have maintenance medication(s) to normalize his/her blood sugar! If the blood sugar is not controlled, it will aggravate the elevated blood pressure that the patient has been suffering from!

Dietary modifications

Stroke survivors need to have changes in their diet. Firstly, s/he must avoid high fat diet; secondly, s/he must avoid high salt diet! These two dietary modifications, if followed to the letter, will greatly contribute in the effective control of blood pressure.

Lifestyle changes

Stop smoking

Most of stroke survivors are cigarette smokers; they should be encouraged to stop from smoking.

Engage in physical exercises

A number of medical literatures have discussed the positive role of regular physical exercises among stroke survivors. This will be discussed in the next article (s).

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