"Beverly Hills, 90210" actor, Luke Perry, passed away on Monday (4 Mar 2019) after suffering a stroke. He was 52. But what percentage of stroke sufferers die from an attack? Is it actually possible to make a full recovery after a stroke? The Department of Neurology at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, answers these and other frequently asked questions about stroke. (iStock photo)
Question 1: Can I recover from a stroke?
The prognosis following stroke depends on the type and location of the stroke as well as on many patient factors. In general:
- 10% recover almost completely
- 25% will have minor impairments
- 40% will have moderate impairments requiring some assistance
- 10% will have severe impairments and will be completely dependent
- 15% will die from the stroke, or shortly after
Question 2: Is there only one kind of stroke?
There are two main types of stroke. The more common, called
ischaemic stroke, is caused by the blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain.
Less common is the
haemorrhagic stroke, which is usually due to the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain.
Related article: How to spot TIA – The "mini" stroke that can lead to a full stroke
Question 3: What are the symptoms a stroke patient may exhibit?
The symptoms depend on the location of the stroke, and vary between individuals. They commonly include weakness and/or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or swallowing, drooping of the face, giddiness and lack of coordination.
Question 4: What acute treatments can be considered?
The care of stroke patients in a specialised stroke unit with trained personnel has been shown to improve outcomes.
For ischaemic stroke patients who come to the hospital early, a clot-busting treatment may be considered within 4.5 hours from onset. Medications to reduce the stickiness of blood (anti-platelets) have also been shown to be beneficial in the acute phase.
For haemorrhagic stroke, surgery may be indicated in some situations. Control of blood pressure is also important.
Related article: 5 Ways to lower blood pressure without medicine
Question 5: When does stroke recovery start and end?
Stroke recovery is very variable. Some individuals improve in the first few minutes after a stroke but this is usually not the case. For most individuals, recovery is slow and happens gradually over a period of months. Improvements can be seen up to one year after the stroke onset.
Related article: Other complications that can develop after a stroke
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