If you are responsible for elder care, there may come a time when you must deal with someone having a stroke. According to recent CDC data, in the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death with around 800,000 people suffering a stroke every year.
It is essential that you know how to recognize the signs of stroke in the elderly and how to act. There are also several things you can do to help prevent a stroke, or help a loved one recover from a stroke.
The Effects of Stroke
If you’re already involved in elderly care, you will know that stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability. A stroke sufferer may experience:
- The inability to eat, walk, dress, and bathe without assistance
- One-sided paralysis
- Have difficulty speaking
Different Kinds of Stroke
There are two main types of stroke in the elderly to be aware of:
- Ischemic stroke – blot clots in a way that blocks arteries or impedes flow to vital organs due to the buildup of fat deposits or plaques in blood vessels. Ischemic strokes are broken down into two categories:
- Embolic – a blood clot forms in the body and travels through the bloodstream to lodge in the brain.
- Thrombolic – a clot forms in a blood vessel and causes an arterial blockage that has an impact on the brain.
- Hemorrhagic stroke – this is caused by the sudden breakage of a blood vessel in the brain.
Elder Care and the Early Signs of Stroke
Stroke in the elderly doesn’t always come with advanced warning, but there are a few early signs to watch out for, including:
- Lack of coordination
- Severe headaches
- Numbness in the limbs and face, usually on just one side of the body
- Sudden vision problems
In addition to the above, women experience a few different symptoms to men, such as sudden:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness
According to Penn Medicine, when it comes to elderly care, prompt action is always important, but particularly so when a stroke is suspected.
How to Prevent Stroke in the Elderly
There are several risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to stroke than others. Knowing what they are and how to lower them is important for reducing stroke in the elderly.
- Atrial fibrillation – this is common in people over 60 and a leading risk factor of stroke. If atrial fibrillation is detected, there are ways to manage it and reduce the risk of stroke.
- Quit smoking – smoking doubles the risk of stroke since it increases clot formation and plaque buildup. If you oversee elder care, encourage your patient to quit smoking.
- Exercise – just two hours of moderate exercise per week can be enough to reduce a person’s stroke risk.
- Healthy diet – healthy eating habits promote overall well-being and reduces an elderly person’s vulnerability to several acute and chronic conditions, including stroke. Try to limit solid fats, sodium, excess sugar, and refined grains.
These are just some of the ways you can reduce the risk of stroke. When it comes to elder care, prevention and fast reaction are key to helping your loved one live a fulfilling life.
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