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Stroke is a brain disorder acquired after occlusion of a vessel or inadequate perfusion in the brain parenchyma.

Stroke is the leading cause of death in Portugal. Worldwide, it is estimated that: one in six people will have a stroke; every second a person suffers a stroke; and every 6 seconds the stroke is responsible for the death of someone.

According to the Portuguese Society of Stroke, Portugal is, in Western Europe, the country with the highest mortality rate, especially in the population under 65 years of age.

Risk factors for stroke include age, sex, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercolest sedentary lifestyle.


In general, it is simple to recognize a stroke using the 5 F's rule. These symptoms can appear in isolation or in combination:

Face : the face can suddenly become asymmetrical, looking like a "corner of the mouth" or one of the eyelids is drooping. These signs can be better perceived if the affected person tries to smile.

Strength : it is common for an arm or leg to suddenly lose strength or to experience a sudden lack of balance.

Speech : speech may seem strange or incomprehensible and speech does not make sense. Often, the person does not seem to understand what is said to him.

Sudden lack of vision: Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes is a common symptom in a stroke, as is double vision.

Severe headache : likewise, it is important to value a sudden and very intense headache, different from the usual pattern and with no apparent cause.

Other problems may arise, such as urinary retention, pain, depression, fatigue and increased muscle tone (spas. Functional limitations resulting from stroke are usually difficulties in walking and cognitive performance such as loss of memory, attention and perception visuospatial, difficulties in communication, not being present.

As a result of these disabilities, many individuals may have difficulty using public transport as a previous professional. Some will need supervision.

What is the treatment for stroke?

The most useful drugs for the treatment and prevention of stroke are antihypertensive agents, antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants. Taken together, these three classes of drugs improve circulation and ensure a better supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to brain cells.

The choice of the best combination of drugs should always be made by the doctor.

In some cases, surgery may be instrumental in unblocking a clogged artery.


How to prevent a stroke?

It is important to control all the components of our health, regularly checking blood pressure and cholesterol, not smoking or consuming alcohol or excess salt, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising.


What is the recovery after a stroke?

Recovery from a stroke takes time. About a third of patients recover significantly in the first month, but many patients will experience sequelae throughout their lives.

Recovery will depend on the location and extent of the stroke, but also on the time that has elapsed, which is why it is crucial to call the Hospital immediately when a stroke is suspected.

Physiotherapy and lifestyle changes are important aspects for recovery. Maintaining a positive attitude, professional and family support are important parts so that everything can run as smoothly as possible.

Objectives of a rehabilitation program:

  • Sensitive- motor re- education

  • Relief from pain and spasticity

  • Training of speech disorders, swallowing, vision, cognitive changes

  • General physical reconditioning

  • Functional training and day-to-day activities

  • Improvement of gait, balance and coordination

  • Prevention of vicious postures and contractures

  • Teaching and reducing cardio-vascular risk factors

  • Teaching and counselling of support products (orthotics, splints, etc.)

  • Return to work activities , daily life and sports activities  

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