Elder Care and Signs of a Stroke

    Caring People Home Healthcare Agency

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:
  1. Embolic – a blood clot forms in the body and travels through the bloodstream to lodge in the brain.
  2. 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:

  • Palpitations
  • Hiccups
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • 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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Watch out for AFIB!

 

National Stroke Association

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) affects an estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. Afib is a type of irregular heartbeat, often caused when the two upper chambers of the heart beat unpredictably and sometimes rapidly. These irregular heartbeats can cause blood to collect in the heart and potentially form a clot, which can travel to a person’s brain and cause a stroke.

To help raise awareness about the association between Afib and the increased risk of stroke, National Stroke Association has developed the Afib-Stroke Connection. The initiative provides tools to patients and primary care practitioners and their staff to help begin—or continue—discussion about Afib-related stroke between people with Afib and those who provide support and/or healthcare. Learn how the tools can be used by patients or healthcare practitioners.

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION FACTS

Know the facts about Afib and prevent stroke from happening to you.

Afib is:

  • a leading risk factor for stroke
  • more common in people over age 60
  • often asymptomatic, making it difficult for people to know that they have it

It’s important to note:

  • Afib can be successfully managed with the help of a healthcare professional.
  • About 15 percent of all people who have strokes also have Afib.
  • Knowing about and properly managing your Afib can prevent you from having a stroke.
  • Up to 80 percent of strokes in people with Afib can be prevented.

TOOLS FOR PATIENTS

Download the Stroke Risk Scorecard

It can be difficult to receive an atrial fibrillation (Afib) diagnosis. People with Afib are often overwhelmed by the condition and how it may impact them. Many people with Afib are unaware of the five-times greater risk of stroke as a result of having Afib.

 

Making the Afib-Stroke Connection is a patient-friendly brochure that covers basic Afib and stroke definitions, treatment options, tips for managing anxiety and what family and friends should know about Afib and stroke.

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Monitor your risk with this easy-to-use tracking card.