Senior Health: Strokes occur when blood vessels in the brain become blocked, either fully or partially.
This interferes with blood flow in the brain and can be immediately life-threatening. If your senior is at risk for developing a stroke, it’s important to understand how one would affect her brain. Paying attention to senior health at this point.
Not Enough Oxygen Gets to Brain Cells
During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted. At first, you might think that means that it’s the blood flow itself that’s important and why the stroke is happening. But the real issue is that your senior’s brain cells aren’t getting the oxygen that they need in order to function. Without oxygen, those blood cells begin to very quickly die off, which is disastrous for cognitive function.
Senior Health: Fluid Builds up in the Brain
Something else that happens is that because of the damage your senior’s brain is undergoing, brain and spinal fluid start to build up in the brain. In a mild stroke that lasts only for a few moments, that fluid buildup might be relatively small. But in a large stroke that goes on for hours or even days, there can be a massive buildup of fluid. This can cause even more damage in your senior’s brain.
Senior Health: The Brain Can’t Send Signals to the Rest of the Body
Because of what’s happening to your senior’s brain, communication to the rest of her body slows down or completely stops, depending on the extent of the damage. This is why there are physical symptoms in the body of a stroke, like trouble moving one side of the body and mobility issues. This can be incredibly scary for your senior to experience and for you to witness.
Senior Health: Healing Takes Time
The human body is pretty amazing, though, and many people do recover partially or fully even from severe strokes. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for her brain to recover and for full or partial cognitive function to return. Your senior may need occupational and physical therapy to help her to cope in the meantime. If her mobility is impaired still, elderly care providers can assist her in her daily activities. The important thing to remember is that rushing her body and her brain doesn’t help, because healing is going to take time.
Help your elderly family member to follow her doctor’s plan for stroke recovery. Remember that some days are going to feel more difficult than other days do, so take it all one step at a time. Good senior health is something to be considered at all stages.