Many people become confused with the words heart attack and stroke, thinking that these two words are the same and they are not related. While a stroke can cause paralysis, a heart attack does not.
Most people have heard of plak build up in the arteries. There are many commercials on the television showing this plak buildup or atherosclerosis. This plak buildup in the arteries continues to the point that blood cannot flow through the arteries in sufficient amounts to supply enough oxygenated blood to vital organs.
When this plak buildup affects the arteries of the heart and brain a stroke can occur. There is not enough oxygen to the heart so the person has a heart attack. When an abundance of plak blocks in an artery the artery can break thus causing a clot to form that fully blocks the artery. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen then brain cells soon die.
Wherever this damage happens in the brain depends on which extremities are affected or if a paralysis occurs. Some people experience major paralysis and some experience little affect from a stroke. Some people have paralysis for life while others recover the use of extremities. Strokes can affect different parts of the body such as the arms, legs, arm and leg on one side, vision, speech, thinking, and the ability to swallow plus much more.
Just as a stroke affects everyone differently so does recovery. Everyone seems to have his or her own period of recovery. A heart attack happens when oxygen-carrying blood does not get to the heart muscle because of a sudden block. Fast help for a heart attack is critical in successful treatment for a heart attack victim. Immediate help means life or death of the person.
I have never personally experienced a stroke, but being a nurse, I have worked with many patients who have experienced a stroke. A stroke affects every patient in differing ways with different complications and levels of seriousness. Just about all of my patients in the past must go through an emotional process to accept what happen to them and learn to deal with their stroke outcome. This process is much the same as a patient accepting a terminal diagnoses, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance of stroke complications that the person must live with for the rest of their life.
Depression in a stroke patient is common and challengingly difficult for the nurse and family to deal. During this time the person does not care if they live die. They do not want to do anything to help the recovery process, including to eat balanced meals, as the appetite is gone for the most part.
While antidepressant medication helps to improve the person’s outlook for their future, the person must develop a particular state of mind that this stroke is not going to hold them down and they will live a future to the best of their ability, obtaining the highest quality of life they can.
It is up to the person to develop this mind set as no one can do it for them. The person affected holds the key to their own successful recovery from stroke complications and to become healthy once again. When the person is able to work through the frustrating complications of a stroke, they recover faster and with more success.
Depending upon how sound a stroke victim’s thinking is their desire to overcome stroke complications, or live with these complications to the best of their ability helps to determine the recovery period and success.
What I heard from many stroke patients was, “I just cannot do it.” The nurse and family will need to encourage the patient to do little things for him or herself at first. It is easy for the nurse and family members to enable the patient, that is, to do everything for them. It is easy to let emotions overtake the nurse and family members to feel sorry for the stroke patient, but this is not being helpful or fair to the person.
Any person who has had a stroke can sometimes overcome all odds and begin to live again where they once left off. Other persons who have had a debilitating stroke learn to live life to the fullest by doing as much as they can for him or her and accept willing assistance for the rest. It is the nurse and doctor who work with the person’s family and friends in helping them to ovecome their fears and educate them on how to help heal their loved one from stroke complications.