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Keeping your heart healthy is not only excellent advice to prevent heart attacks but also to prevent strokes. The heart is the best known part of the cardiovascular system. The heart takes the blood and pumps it throughout the body. The heart is the “cardio” part of the cardiovascular system. The arteries and veins that carry the blood from the heart to the body and back are the “vascular” part of the cardiovascular system. A stroke is when part of the vascular system, usually an artery, gets blocked or breaks. In 2021, Stroke was the #5 cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 160,000 deaths.
Since the cardiovascular system is one large system, health issues that impact the heart also impact the arteries and veins. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, the three health issues that are most commonly associated with a risk for a heart attack, are also associated with a risk for a stroke. Fortunately, these three health issues can all be modified for better health and longer life. These three issues are best modified by the combined focus on healthy eating, exercise and taking medications. Following a stroke, these health issues are a focus for patients at Moody Neuro.
Focusing on each of these issues, therapists at Moody Neuro may have to help the patient with special considerations due to their stroke event. When considering healthy eating and taking of medications, speech therapists may identify modifications in the food or medicine due to swallowing difficulties. Swallowing difficulties (also known as dysphagia) are very serious, and if modifications are not made, the patient is at risk of choking or aspiration pneumonia. Physical therapists and occupational therapists may identify modifications to exercise routines based on the patient’s physical limitations. For instance, a patient with balance issues may be at a safety risk when walking for exercise but may be perfectly safe on an exercise bike. Recreation therapists may identify new activities for the patient to engage in so the patient is not simply sitting at home, as the patient’s limitations may stop them from engaging in previous hobbies and interests. Counseling may help the patient with mood and adjustment issues surrounding healthy living. Large changes in lifestyle can be emotionally daunting and the more overwhelmed a patient feels by the change, the less likely they are to engage in a healthy lifestyle.
The good news about heart and stroke health is that many factors that contribute to health problems can be modified by the patient and their health care team. At Moody Neuro, these are a focus of rehabilitation, including the potential modifications due to having a stroke event.
Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute (Moody Neuro) provides personalized care to treat the unique challenges of brain injury with the singular purpose of achieving the best possible outcome for patients and their families.