Few things can be more frightening than having to endure a life after a stroke. Depending on the extent of the damage it could mean completely rethinking everything you do in life from the littlest things like brushing your teeth, to the big things like maintaining your mobility. Stroke patients often have a long recovery process ahead of them and for most, complete recovery is all but impossible.
Fortunately, new treatments are being made available that can give people a more promising hope for the future. According to Everyday Health, “Treatments for stroke vary depending on whether the stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or a brain bleed (hemorrhagic stroke). No matter the type of stroke, acting fast and seeking treatment as quickly as possible is key to reducing the risk of permanent brain damage.”
The key to a full recovery is getting the right treatment to the patient as quickly as possible. Luckily, there are now six new medications that can make a major difference in the kind of life a stroke patient can lead after a stroke.
Ischemic strokes usually occur when a blood clot gets into an artery and creates a block so that blood and oxygen cannot get to the brain. These are usually caused by fatty tissue deposits in the lining of the walls of the blood vessels. They can cause two separate types of blockage that can lead to a stroke. 1) Cerebral thrombosis, a blood clot that develops in or near the vessel or 2) Cerebral embolism, a blood clot that forms somewhere else and then travels through the circulatory system until it reaches the heart of the brain.
For this type of stroke, you want to restore the flow of blood to the brain as rapidly as possible. There are several medications that can be very effective in breaking up the clot and reducing the risk of new clots forming as well.
Tissue Plasminogin Activator: must be administered within a few hours after the first signs of a stroke. They will quickly dissolve the clot that is interfering with the flow of blood.
Aspirin: While aspirin doesn’t get rid of already existing clots, it will help to keep new ones from forming.
Anticoagulants: this can come in pill form and is quite effective at keeping clots from forming.
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when the blood vessels around the brain leak or burst. This causes excessive pressure on the brain and cuts off circulation, thus robbing the brain of its needed oxygen.
Treatment for this type of stroke will be determined by the part of the brain that is damaged. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments that can control the blood pressure, stopping medications that could have lead to the bleeding, blood transfusions with clotting factors added (for cases where there is continuous bleeding) and surgery.
As medical research continues to advance, new ways of treating strokes are being developed to improve recovery afterwards. While these new treatments do not serve as a cure, there is a very small window of time where these medications can do much to improve the recovery process. According to the New York Presbyterian, “In recent years, several new approaches have been developed in an effort to improve the use of the arm or leg after stroke. … Although none of these approaches represent a cure, several can provide meaningful improvements, allowing stroke survivors to increase their use of the affected arm or leg.”
Below is a list of new treatments that have proven to be very effective in reversing the effects of a stroke.
Botulinum Toxin Injections: Used to treat stiffness that occurs in muscles after a stroke. It can also help in improving the ability to use the arm or leg after recovery.
Constraint Induced Movement Therapy: An exercise program that works by restraining the uninjured limb to encourage more mobility of the damaged one.
Dyanmic Splinting: helps to straighten wrist and fingers after a stroke.
Electrical Stimulation: can help to restore movement in a damaged limb
These treatments along with many others have been very effective in helping stroke patients return to a normal lifestyle during and after recovery. They can prove to be invaluable at creating promise for a better quality of life in a stroke patient. According to Prevent AF, “It is hoped that the availability of new therapy options, together with a greater understanding of their impact on the burden of stroke, will pave the way for better management of patients with AF.”
It can be a nightmare to discover that one’s life as a stroke patient could be permanently damaged. Now with medical science doing a great deal of research, it has become increasingly obvious that those who suffer from strokes, no longer need to remain in fear that their lives could be limited to a mere shell of what it was before.