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How to Handle Post-Stroke Fatigue

Photo Credit: Pexels

Written by 
Peter Mutuc of Onebed 

In 2016, about 795,000 patients in the US suffered from a stroke, and more than half of them have experienced post-stroke fatigue.

While it’s a pretty common occurrence, doctors still don’t exactly know why stroke victims get tired so easily.

Obviously, it has something to do with the damage that the stroke does to the brain and other parts of the body. Even so, the exact cause, location, or nature of this damage has continued to elude doctors, even today.

Some researchers have identified right hemispheric strokes as a primary cause of post-stroke fatigue. Other research blames damage to the brain-stem. And while both are valid explanations, neither can account for why the general population of stroke patients is so prone to fatigue.

This is because…

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Problems All Contribute to Post-Stroke Fatigue

While doctors are still unsure and divided on the root cause of post-stroke fatigue, they do agree on one thing: the reason it’s so draining is because it’s a combination of physical, emotional, and psychological factors.

Fatigue can come not just from the actual physical damage that the stroke does to the brain, but also from the new challenges and changes that the stroke victim suddenly has to overcome.

Surviving a stroke, especially after the first couple months, can be very physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. And every stroke victim handles it differently.

Be Patient with Yourself: Fatigue is Largely Subjective

Properly handling this type of fatigue means that you have to be patient with yourself and manage your own expectations. Fatigue is very subjective, and what other stroke victims can tolerate will be different from what you can tolerate.

Focus on your own healing. Given time and the correct treatment, there is a chance that the fatigue will subside. However, there’s also a chance that you’ll never really get rid off post-stroke fatigue. And if this is the case with you, don’t worry. There are ways to make the fatigue more manageable so you can live a fuller life.

Handle Post-Stroke Fatigue by Committing to Positive Lifestyle Changes

Start Exercising Regularly

Being sedentary will do you absolutely no good. No matter how frustrating it might be, it’s time to move! The best way to do this is to get in touch with a physical therapist and develop an appropriate training plan.

Focus on exercises that improve your balance and coordination. And remember: DO NOT overexert your body. Even though you might have been previously active before getting a stroke, you still need to start this process slowly and gradually. Have patience with yourself as well as the recovery process.

Start Eating Healthy

Face facts: gone are the days when you can just shove anything into your mouth. You need to watch what you eat. And if necessary, hire a nutritionist to develop a healthy diet that’s within your budget.  You’ll be surprised at how just watching what you eat can make you feel so much better.

Make Time for Relaxation No Matter What

One of the only good things about post-stroke fatigue is that you’re now medically obliged to relax. Find ways to schedule relaxing activities like a hotel staycation or even just a simple massage.

We already know that post-stroke fatigue is caused by physical, mental, and emotional stress. Shaking off some stress is a fun way to fight its effects.

Scatter Demanding Activities Throughout the Week

Try not to put yourself in highly stressful situations two days in a row. Distributing stress lets you rest in between so you can do more.

Modify Your Home to Better Suit Your Personal Needs

Enlist family and/or friends (or contractors) to make certain changes that can make your home easier for you to navigate. This includes using assistive technology if necessary.

Whenever you’re planning to make any drastic lifestyle changes (like switching to a particular diet), don’t forget to consult your physician. Although you may feel confident acting on your own, it’s still best to get your doctor’s opinion.

If you get the go signal, summon all the willpower you can. Committing to these positive changes is the best way to handle the effects of long-term post-stroke fatigue.

Author bio: Peter Mutuc is obsessed with natural, non-pharmaceutical solutions to insomnia and awry sleeping patterns - an obsession that comes in handy at his job as the web content writer for a small, Aussie startup mattress company called Onebed.
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