April 3, 2018

Impact of Damage from Stroke is Far More Than Physical

Study reveals surprising results about change in daily lives

Impact of Damage from Stroke is Far More Than Physical

Life after suffering a stroke typically involves some degree of physical disability. But a new study shows that the physical effects of a stroke are only one of several profound changes — differences that may not be apparent to others.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The research uncovered three main areas where stroke survivors experienced the most change in their daily lives: physical function, cognitive ability and satisfaction with their roles in society.

The study looks at what problems affect people most after a stroke and it provides a broader picture than what some may usually expect to see, says Cleveland Clinic neurologist Irene Katzan, MD, one of the study’s authors.

“After a stroke, people who have mild disability can often have ‘hidden’ problems that can really affect their quality of life,” Dr. Katzan says.

“For people with more disability, what bothers them the most? Problems with sleep? Depression? Fatigue? Not many studies have asked people how they feel about these problems, and we doctors have often focused just on physical disability or whether they have another stroke,” she says.

Quality of life after a stroke

The study looked at 1,195 people who had suffered an ischemic stroke, which is the type of stroke where blood flow to part of the brain is blocked. Participants answered questions about aspects of their physical function and quality of life.

Advertisement

Previous studies have looked at mental well-being following a stroke, Dr. Katzan says. But this study compared how much people felt impacted across multiple aspects of well-being. Stroke survivors were most impacted by thinking and social challenges and difficulties with physical functioning.

In this study, participants found these challenges to be almost equal.

While 63 percent reported greater physical challenges following a stroke compared to the general population, 46 percent reported having increased difficulty with thinking. Likewise, 58 percent reported greater dissatisfaction with their ability to participate in social and work-related activities.

More attention needed

More needs to be done to focus on the thinking and social problems that people face after a stroke because they can greatly impact a person’s overall quality of life, Dr. Katzan says.

The study provides an opportunity for caregivers and family members to understand what these stroke survivors are going through, she says.

Advertisement

“A decline in physical function is the hallmark of a stroke, but fewer people realize that stroke patients also have difficulties with thinking, and that stroke patients really can feel disconnected from society and from their previous roles in society, which can be very dissatisfying for them,” she says.

It can be useful for stroke survivors to talk to their family or their doctor about these problems, Dr. Katzan says.

While no specific treatments can improve a stroke patient’s ability to think, caregivers can use strategies that can help, such as creating lists and dividing up responsibilities, she says.

Complete results of the study can be found in the journal Neurology.

Related Articles

Caregiver and elderly male with head bent down
February 2, 2024
After Your Stroke: How To Handle 14 Common Complications

Your age, the type of stroke you had, the cause and the location can all impact your recovery

Best Tips for Adapting Your Home After a Stroke
April 25, 2018
Best Tips for Adapting Your Home After a Stroke

A good support system can help ease your transition

Close up of person pouring a cup of coffee
February 23, 2024
Does Caffeine Help Headaches?

It’s all about the amount — try to stick to 100 to 150 milligrams a day to reduce and prevent a pounding, throbbing head

blurred person looking out window in background with glass of wine and bottle in foreground
February 21, 2024
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Brain?

Even one drink can have an impact on your cognitive function leading to slurred speech, blurred vision and impaired memory

female on couch reading a nasal spray bottle label
February 20, 2024
What To Know About Nasal Spray for Migraines

Among the options is a fast-acting medication that offers relief in as little as 15 minutes

two people doing jumping jacks on pavement outside
February 19, 2024
How Exercise Can Help Boost Your Memory

Cardio is great for improving cognition, but strength and balance training are just as important

close up of caregiver's hands helping elderly person using a walker
January 2, 2024
Long-Term Care Options for Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s critical to understand the wishes of your loved one and seek their involvement whenever possible

female caregiver with hand on back of elderly woman in wheelchair
December 25, 2023
How to Care For Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease

Your loved one may need help with daily activities, managing nutritional challenges and adapting their living space

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad