Look For PTSD Symptoms In Stroke Victims

By Richard Ueberfluss

heartshinyAlthough post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with retuning veterans, a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that people who develop PTSD after a stroke could have a greater risk for heart problems or another stroke because of the psychological issues they endure.

Reporter Barbara Bronson Gray, writing for HealthDay, found that the researchers “discovered that patients who develop a serious health condition followed by intense treatment may have mental problems that frequently go unrecognized by physicians and family members. PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to a life-threatening or traumatic event. The symptoms fall into three broad types: reliving the event, avoiding usual activities and hyperarousal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Bronson warned that “unlike a soldier who can leave the battlefield, stroke patients typically return to the place where the crisis occurred. Many patients may simply see the living room chair where they had the stroke and immediately feel PTSD symptoms.
Flashbacks, nightmares, palpitations, chills, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure may occur for months or years after their return home.”

If you are caring for a loved one that has experienced a stroke, monitor their behavior to determine if they exhibit any unusual behavior. A home care company can provide an aide to keep company with the loved one and try to minimize any anxiety –they are trained to seek medical intervention if they suspect a patient’s condition has worsened.

As medical science studies stroke victims they are finding ways to detect strokes early and treat them, but also that strokes can present challenges beyond the initial incident.

- Richard Ueberfluss is a certified physical therapist and president of Assisting Hands-Chicago. He can be reached at this web site.

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