According to the National Stroke Association, about 30 percent to 70 percent of stroke survivors complain of excessive tiredness after a stroke. Stroke survivors should remember that tiredness is a normal side-effect of a stroke, as survivors have gone through a traumatic event and must often relearn to do simple tasks.
Tiredness after a stroke may be due to underlying medical issues such as heart disease, muscle aches or paralysis, infection, poor nutrition due to loss of appetite or trouble swallowing, chronic pain, poor sleeping or because of a reaction to a certain medication.
After a stroke, many survivors must learn to carry out their daily tasks in new ways due to partial paralysis, loss of speech or general loss of mobility. What this means is that survivors expend far more energy completing their day-to-day tasks than they did before the stroke, as many need to relearn how to dress themselves, eat, speak and even swallow, leaving little energy for anything else.
Still other survivors may be excessively tired due to depression or frustration.
Because you're relearning to do everyday things and must adapt to doing things differently, you may feel helpless, sad and annoyed with your new post-stroke lifestyle. A person's emotional and mental well-being can play a pivotal role in energy levels and duration of recovery.
Perhaps the most important thing stroke survivors can do to increase their energy levels is to work with a physical therapist who can teach new, more efficient ways of doing things. A physical therapist can give you tips for conserving energy and show you different exercises to gradually build your strength and endurance.
It's also important to talk to your doctor and ask if one of your medications could be causing excessive tiredness. Your doctor will also be able to determine if there is an underlying medical condition that is zapping your energy and causing you to feel tired. Your doctor can help you determine if you're getting adequate nutrition and sleep and can give you tips for improving nutrition and sleep.
Improving your emotional and mental health can greatly increase your energy level. It's important to relax when possible and take a few short naps a day to reduce frustration. Set priorities and plan your day out the night before so you know exactly what you want to accomplish the next day. Remember that you're body has undergone major trauma, so don't get frustrated if you can't accomplish as much as you used to be able to.
You may want to consider joining a stroke survivors support group, as other survivors may be able to give you tips for reducing fatigue and increasing your energy level.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of lost in translation) (Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic
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