Each year, over 700,000 people experience either their first or a recurrent stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke is better described as an attack of the brain that can happen at any time. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is obstructed. When this occurs, brain cells begin to die as a result of being deprived of oxygen.
When brain cells are lost during a stroke, muscle control and memory capabilities are affected. Strokes are much more common among older people, because the disorders that lead to strokes progress over time. Over sixty percent of all strokes occur in the senior citizen population.
A stroke may be caused by the bursting of a blood vessel or by the blockage of an artery. Some individuals may experience a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain, while others may suffer from an extended blood flow disruption. Different areas of the brain are responsible for different functions; therefore, the results of the stroke may vary, depending on the area of the brain that is affected.
A stroke can alter the functions of movement, speech, sensation, sight, balance and coordination. If circulation to the brain is restored promptly, symptoms are more likely to improve within a few days; however, if the blood supply was obstructed for an extended period of time, the damage done to the brain may be more severe. Symptoms may be present for several months and physical rehabilitation may be required.
The degree of impairment and type of disability one may incur following a stroke depend upon which area of the brain is affected by the attack. Paralysis is a frequently-occurring disability following a stroke. Paralysis, in many cases, may affect only an arm, leg or the face. In other instances, a complete side of the body may be affected.Oftentimes, individuals may lose the ability to feel pain, touch, position or temperature. Sensory deficits may also inhibit an individual’s ability to recognize common objects.
Twenty-five percent of all stroke victims experience a language impairment that involves the ability to write, speak or understand language. Stroke can also have a negative effect on alertness, memory and learning. Those affected by a stroke may exhibit a significantly shorter attention span and may experience bouts of short-term memory deficit. After a stroke, individuals may feel anger, anxiety or sadness. These feelings are a natural response to the psychological trauma suffered from the stroke.
Generally, stroke can cause the following impairments:
A stroke is always a medical emergency and occurs when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted. The deprivation of the blood supply to the brain causes a deficiency of oxygen and other nutrients, resulting in lost brain cells. During a stroke, prompt treatment is crucial. Fortunately, medical alerts provide peace of mind that medical help can be called immediately.
Early actions can minimize damage to the brain, as well as lessen the probability of other complications. If a stroke goes untreated for an extended period of time, the risks of severe brain damage and disability increase drastically.
Common symptoms experienced by those having a stroke are:
Many seniors opt to not utilize medical alerts; however, individuals should seek medical attention immediately at the first signs and symptoms of a stroke. Telephones should be within reach, or bells may be used to alert others in the home if attention is needed. Stroke is often described as a “brain attack,” due to the disruption of the blood supply to the brain.
Stroke survivors often suffer from cognitive and physical disabilities. The severity of the disability is dependent on the damage done to the brain. For this reason, it is essential to seek emergency care without delay when stroke symptoms develop. The sooner a patient reaches a medical facility, the better their chances of survival and recovery.
A stroke can be a devastating experience that affects one’s abilities and independence. Stroke recovery is usually a slow process, and it may take months to years for the brain to heal. During a stroke, individuals are affected differently. Seniors may be unable to get to the phone due to paralysis, become unable to communicate or experience loss of vision. For this reason, medical alert buttons can be the lifesaver needed to summon emergency help when time is of the essence.