Stroke is a common medical condition that affects many individuals in New Zealand. It occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die. According to the Ministry of Health, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in New Zealand. While there is no cure for stroke, there are a variety of mobility aids available that can help individuals with stroke live more independently and safely.
Types of Stroke
There are two main types of stroke:
Ischemic Stroke: This occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the blood vessels that supplies blood to the brain, blocking blood flow to the affected area.
Hemorrhagic Stroke: This occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain.
Symptoms of Stroke
The symptoms of stroke can vary depending on the severity and location of the stroke, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Prevention of Stroke
There are several lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of stroke, including:
Maintaining a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of stroke.
Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of stroke by improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Quitting smoking: Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.
Managing underlying medical conditions: Managing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can help reduce the risk of stroke.
Mobility Aids for Stroke
Individuals who have had a stroke may experience a range of mobility-related issues, including difficulty walking, poor balance, and weakness in one or both sides of the body. Here are some mobility aids that can help individuals with stroke live more independently and safely:
Walkers: Walkers can provide support for individuals with stroke who have difficulty walking or maintaining their balance.
Canes: Canes can provide additional support and stability for individuals with stroke who have weakness on one side of the body.
Wheelchairs: Wheelchairs can provide mobility for individuals who are unable to walk or have limited mobility.
Transfer Aids: Transfer aids such as transfer benches, sliding boards, and lift systems can help individuals with stroke move from one surface to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair or a bathtub.
Adaptive Equipment: Adaptive equipment such as modified utensils, grip aids, and dressing aids can help individuals with stroke perform daily tasks more easily and independently.
Stroke is a common medical condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s mobility and quality of life. If you or someone you know has had a stroke, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider or mobility aid specialist about the available options for mobility aids and other resources that can help.