Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke in the United States, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a leading cause of death. Having a stroke can be completely life-altering, and it is important that individuals know what to expect after they have experienced one. Every stroke is different, which means that the recovery process can vary greatly from person to person. Getting professional support and advice from healthcare professionals is vital, but there are a few things you can do too. So, whether you are on the road to recovery or a loved one has just had a stroke, here are 5 things you can do to help make the recovery process easier too.

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Educate Yourself

Studies show that people who have experienced a stroke are 15 times more likely to have a second one within three months after the first. Educating yourself and making yourself aware of the warning signs, such as weakness in the arm, slurred speech, and vertigo, can help you get help quickly should you have a second stroke. Understanding the signs and managing your health can make a huge difference to the outcome. Although risk factors like age or genes cannot be controlled, there are certain stroke risk factors you can manage. Maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your salt intake, cutting down on alcohol, and quitting smoking can all help reduce your risk of stroke.

Incorporate a Nutritional Diet

Being active and eating a variety of nutritional food can also help reduce the risk of a second stroke. However, if a stroke negatively affects the part of the brain that controls the muscles needed for swallowing, a patient may experience dysphagia. The severity ranges vastly. Some patients may experience some coughing and choking during a meal, while others may find that they cannot swallow at all. This can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. People with dysphagia can manage their symptoms by experimenting with the temperature of their food, eating smaller meals more frequently, and implementing softer and moist foods. In addition, thickeners can be added to fluids to give them a more palatable consistency. SimplyThick food thickener is a flavorless gel that can be added to a variety of fluids. It is easy to use and can thicken fluids in seconds.

Add Safety Precautions in the Home…

Adding safety precautions in the home can help keep you safe and well as you begin your recovery process. These can include non-slip bathmats, grab bars in the toilet, and handrails around the home.

…and Remove Hazards

In addition to equipping the home with extra safety precautions, you should also take steps to remove hazards too. Hazards can include dimly lit rooms, loose cords, and cluttered hallways. By using the Home Fall Prevention Checklist created by the CDC, you can help keep the home safe.

Be Mindful About Mental Health

Around 30 to 50 percent of people who have experienced a stroke also experience depression afterward. Post-stroke depression can occur at any point during recovery, and it can seriously affect a patient’s ability to recover. Signs of depression can include feelings of sadness, irritability, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Patients can also experience fatigue, decreased concentration, and suicidal thoughts. A healthcare professional can help patients come up with a plan of action and help treat depression.

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