Is Full Recovery Possible from a Stroke?

"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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