What are the chances of recovery after a stroke?
Recovery from stroke is a long process that can continue over several years. Most of the recovery occurs in the first 2-3 years, and especially the first 6 months. Rehabilitation needs to continue in hospital, rehabilitation services via organization support, home and residential care.
Approximately one-third of stroke patients recover their lost functions fully or almost fully, and get back to their pre-stroke activities within a year.
About 50% of stroke survivors under the age of 65 return to work.
However at one-year after a stroke, about two-thirds of stroke survivors will have some level of disability, ranging from light and moderate to very severe.
What are the possible medical complications after a stroke?
If a person does survive a stroke, as many people do, they may have permanent or temporary disability due to the damage to the brain caused by the stroke.
Possible effects after a stroke are:
Approximately two thirds of stroke survivors have partial or complete loss of movement and strength in a hand and/or leg on one side of the body. Partial loss of movement and strength is called paresis, complete loss is called paralysis.
80-90% suffer from confusion, and problems with thinking and memory.
30% have communication problems such as an inability to speak or understand spoken language.
30% have difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia.
10% have vision problems such as complete or partial blindness, or double vision.
10% have impaired coordination, called ataxia.
30% have problems in right-left orientation.
Up to 70% suffer from mood disorders, including depression.
20% develop pain in the shoulder.
Less that 10% may develop seizures or epilepsy, especially after an intracerebral hemorrhage.
Without adequate prevention, 20% develop a chest infection within one month of stroke and 10-20% develop bedsores and/or skin infection.
Other possible complications are falls, joint deformities and contractures (where joints cannot fully bend or stretch), urinary tract infection, constipation, pulmonary embolism and heart attack (myocardial infarction).