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Recovering From a Stroke


Approximately 750,000 Americans have a stroke each year. Half of stroke survivors are left with a permanent disability. Recovery from a stroke depends on the extent and location of the stroke, the person’s general health, his or her personality and emotional state, the support of family and friends, and the care the person receives.

Although some people recover from a stroke spontaneously, most people need rehabilitation to relearn previous skills and learn new skills. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the person who has had a stroke make the most of his or her physical and mental abilities and adapt to any limitations resulting from the stroke. Also, health care team members work to prevent complications such as stiff joints, bedsores, and pneumonia, which can result when a person has problems moving.

To be successful, a rehabilitation program should be started as soon as possible after having a stroke. This, of course, depends on the ability of someone who has had a stroke to take part in such a program. Discuss appropriate rehabilitation with your healthcare provider.

Some people improve greatly their abilities to move, talk and see soon after having a stroke. Even though regaining these abilities is most rapid during the first year after a stroke, some gains are made more slowly. Some people, with continued effort and support, may notice gains for years after a stroke.

What a person is like before a stroke also may influence how he or she will react afterward. Some people may struggle to overcome a disability, while others may become resigned and need a lot of support from others.

This information discusses recovering from a stroke. You will find information about the following:

  • Members of the rehabilitation team
  • Different functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain
  • Physical effects of a stroke
  • Cognitive effects of a stroke
  • Emotional effects of a stroke
  • Role of family members in rehabilitation
  • Impact of a stroke on family members
  • Issues to think about before going home
  • Warning signs of a stroke
  • Resources available for people recovering from a stroke

As you read, remember that the effects of a stroke vary with each individual. If you have questions
about this information or your condition or the condition of your family member, ask a member of
your health care team.

Read the Recovering From a Stroke Booklet