Adequate care after an ischemic stroke is crucial for a patient’s recovery. But there are some lesser known factors that can affect how a patient recovers after a stroke. Factors such as body temperature, blood sugar, and even the patient’s sleeping position greatly influence a patient’s recovery. A sufficient amount of attentive care can prevent further injury and reduce the risk of complications. This level of care significantly increases the patient’s chance for a functional recovery.
The two main goals during stroke care are to minimize further damage to the brain, and to treat and prevent medical and neurological complications. There are various factors that can affect the recovery outcome. There’s significant evidence that high blood sugar causes poor outcomes for stroke patients. Vigorous control of blood sugar levels is essential, and caretakers should frequently check blood-glucose levels and implement insulin treatment, if necessary.
Body temperature is another significant factor. For every one degree Celsius in body temperature, the patient’s risk for death and disability increases substantially. Trials are currently being done to determine if therapeutic cooling, a procedure that has been shown to benefit cardiac arrest victims, will also help stroke patients. But until there is evidence that the same procedure benefits stroke patients, it is important only to keep the patient at a normal body temperature (between 96 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit).
The patient’s position while lying in bed is also important. Sitting upright is known to decrease blood flow to the head and brain, so it is common to keep the patient lying as flat as possible for 24 hours. If the patient has difficulty breathing when lying flat, then the head of the bed can be slightly lowered to the lowest position that the patient feels comfortable.
Various blood-related factors are also important to consider during stroke treatment. Blood volume, blood pressure, cardiac issues, and possibility of blood clot formation are all things that should be closely monitored. There is also a possibility of malnutrition, seizures, aspiration, brain swelling, and brain hemorrhages that caregivers need to be aware of and vigilantly try to prevent.
The majority of stroke patients have a high survivability rate, thanks to facilities and healthcare givers providing supportive care. But the potential for a highly functional recovery depends on a more intensive and efficient quality of care. Hospitals that have specialized units dedicated to stroke care have proved that such a high level of care significantly decrease the mortality rate of stroke patients.