A stroke can change your life in an instant.
But acupuncture can aid with the recovery.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in adults. The American Heart Association estimates that between 500,000 and 750,000 strokes occur in the U.S. each year, approximately 150,000 people dying from the stroke itself or from related complications.
A stroke happens when a part of the brain dies from lack of blood, usually because one of the arteries that supply oxygen-carrying blood to the brain has been damaged. This can be caused one of two ways:
Clogged vessel or ischemic stroke: Caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain, usually by a blood clot or by fatty deposits on the vessel wall. 80% of strokes are ischemic.
Burst vessel or hemorrhagic stroke: Caused by a ruptured blood vessel, preventing normal flow and allowing blood to leak into brain tissue, destroying it. This occurs in 20% of strokes.
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. A common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body (hemiplegia). A related disability that is not as debilitating as paralysis is one-sided weakness (hemiparesis). Stroke may cause difficulties with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech.
A stroke can lead to emotional problems, as stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions and experience depression. Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.
Acupuncture can improve not only the physical symptoms of stroke but also the emotional malaise that often accompanies such a significant life change. As you can see, there are a variety of side effects from stroke, and acupuncture can work for speech problems (aphasia), facial paralysis, and muscular paralysis/weakness (hemiplagia, rigidity). Acupuncture also works to preserve brain tissue by decreasing the stress response, stabilizing the brain’s healing process, and signaling the brain to keep making active connections to arms and legs which have lost their normal brain control systems, and helps to treat spastic dyskinesia (difficulty in performing voluntary movements), a common problem among stroke patients. Acupuncture can also work to boost balance for stroke survivors, as well as muscle strength.
The rehabilitative stage of the treatment involves treating any existing underlying factors such as hypertension, to balance the yin and yang, open the blood vessels, promote the flow of energy, while stimulating blood circulation and decreasing blood or Chi stagnation, and choosing points that deal with local issues.
Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly!
Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 emergency immediately. There are now effective therapies for stroke that must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms appear. Every minute counts!
For more information please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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Photo: Woman Watching The Ocean by Karen Arnold