Living with the effects of a stroke

    • Brief

    • When you have a stroke, it can affect how well your body functions. Some challenges you may face are difficulties speaking and moving. Your brain is like the commander centre of your body, and when it is affected during a stroke, many things go wrong. It can be caused by heart disease or diseases of metabolism like high blood sugar.

      Heart disease and stroke are conditions that you may live with for a long time. This may be overwhelming initially, but with appropriate treatment and change in your lifestyle, you can live a productive life.

    • When you get the diagnosis

    • Stroke often happens suddenly and the effects are usually noticeable. You may have difficulty speaking (including slurred speech), you may not be able to move parts of your body, and you may feel unwell. As your treatment continues, you will likely regain (some) function.

      Get treatment as soon as possible when you experience the symptoms of a stroke. Movement and speaking difficulties can be limited and improved with immediate treatment.

    • Work and your health

    • It is important, when you are discharged from the hospital, to schedule your clinic appointments around work. Clinic appointments can be stressful, but they are important to monitor your improvement. Your healthcare provider may need to change your medicines or recommend better treatment options. 

      Physical, occupational and behavioural therapies can help you to return to work. You may need help with movement, speech and managing your stress. You should speak with your healthcare provider about a specialist therapies. 

    • Diet and nutrition

    • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes (e.g. beans). Avoid fatty, salty and sugary foods.  Initially, you may not be able to eat solid meals, you should take fluid or semi-solid meals that are easier to swallow.

      Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol use. If you are finding it difficult to stop, your healthcare provider can help you with counselling and talk therapy.

    • Physical activity

    • Living with stroke can change your entire life. You may feel tired often. Talk with your healthcare provider about what exercises are best for you. A simple walk around the house or stretching your muscles may be all you need. You may need physical therapy, especially if you have problems with moving your arms and legs. This will help relieve your symptoms and help you gain some function.

    • Support from family and community

    • Dealing with a stroke can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you may feel too tired to do simple tasks. Seek help from your loved ones or friends. You can also share your thoughts with them when you need to talk with someone. Having a positive outlook on life and doing the things you can do and enjoy doing can improve your mood. 

    • Financial impact

    • Dealing with stroke may require using different medicines, physiotherapy, speech therapy, visiting the hospital often, carrying out tests and other treatments. These are usually not cheap, and you may not have planned for these expenses. This is likely to affect your savings or increase how much you spend from your income.

      If you have a history of stroke, you should consider getting health insurance. Speak with your healthcare provider about the plan that is right for you.

    • Kulawa cares

    • People who have a stroke are at risk of another stroke, and usually one that is more serious than the first. Get treated to reduce the impact of your stroke the risk of another stroke.