Along with healthy weight and regular physical activity, an overall healthy diet can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This includes eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lowering or cutting out salt or sodium if you have any tendency to high blood pressure, and eating less saturated fat and cholesterol to lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease which can lead to stroke.
Nutrition After a Stroke – in hospital and beyond: The Cochrane reviews tell us that strokes can produce a wide range of effects with potential to impact on ability to eat. These include difficulty maintaining upright posture; loss of upper limb motor control/sensation; problems with chewing and swallowing; communication, visual, perceptual, psychological, emotional and attention problems. They say that even minor difficulties may result in inadequate dietary intake. The gist of their information is that adequate nutrition is fundamental for recovery and rehabilitation, with potentially devastating effects associated with protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). It appears that far too many patients become malnourished from 48 hours to 7 days after admission to hospital. They tell us that nutritional support for acute stroke patients represents an important element of rehabilitation. Nutrition support for hospital patients is an area of particular concern with reports repeatedly flagging problems. We repeat this information as important if you are trying to help someone hospitalised with a stroke.
Complementary Therapies / Alternative Medicine
The Stroke Association says that: Complementary therapies may sometimes help after a stroke but there is not much research to support their use. They acknowledge, however, that some people find the addition of complementary therapies helpful in aiding rehabilitation. The severity of the stroke may limit what can be usefully undertaken. The usefulness of complementary therapies for stroke will vary enormously depending on your specific conditions and needs.
We can at least say that for some symptoms in some cases, and for dealing with feelings of depression, loss, looking for ongoing purpose and meaning and questioning the value of carrying on living, complementary therapies can make a great difference for some patients and for carers.
We introduce some of the main complementary techniques and therapies in our Complementary Techniques and Therapies guide. Their usefulness will depend in many cases on the severity of the stroke. See our Stroke Self-help and Health Information we Trust lists to learn more and find dependable providers for help and self help.