Seniors over the age of 65 have the highest stroke risk, making up approximately 66 percent of the 795,000 Americans who experience strokes each year. The main risk factors for strokes include smoking, high cholesterol, and untreated hypertension. Bridgewater senior home care experts have provided the following information to help you and your elderly loved one understand the different types of strokes and how to treat them should one occur.
Approximately 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic in nature. Ischemia occurs when the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain have become blocked. Blood clots are a common cause of these blockages. The most effective treatment for an ischemic stroke is a tissue plasminogen activator. A doctor must administer this medication within 3 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms to be effective.
A person experiences a hemorrhagic stroke when an artery in the brain ruptures or leaks blood. This fluid puts increased pressure on brain cells and damages them. High blood pressure and bulges in the artery, known as aneurysms, are common causes of hemorrhagic strokes. With this type of stroke, endovascular procedures or surgery are used to stop the bleeding and repair damaged arteries.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
TIAs are often referred to as “mini-strokes.” Although TIAs are ischemic in nature, they differ from other types of strokes because the blood supply to the brain is only blocked for a short time, typically less than 5 minutes. Just like other kinds of strokes, TIAs are a medical emergency and are often a warning sign of a future, more severe stroke. The most common treatments are antiplatelet drugs like clopidogrel and anticoagulants like warfarin. If there is a significant blockage in the carotid artery, the doctor may recommend an endarterectomy to clear plaque from the artery.
Seniors who have experienced a stroke are likely to need extensive rehabilitation, including:
- Speech therapy if they have difficulty comprehending or producing speech
- Physical therapy to assist in relearning skills necessary for movement and coordination
- Occupational therapy focused on skills necessary to complete activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and eating
- Counseling and support groups to help with depression and other emotional health concerns that often follow a stroke
A professional stroke caregiver in Bridgewater can assist with many of the above aspects of recovery.
After a stroke, the tasks of daily living can become more challenging for many seniors. If your loved one has experienced a stroke, Home Care Assistance can provide comprehensive stroke care to help him or her remain safe and comfortable during recovery. Our hourly or live-in caregivers in Bridgewater can assist your loved one with important tasks like exercise, bathing, and medication reminders and also watch for symptoms of additional strokes. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free consultation.