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What is the timeline for recovering from a stroke?

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The timeline for recovering from a stroke varies from patient to patient and may be influenced by the severity of the stroke and its associated complications and the patient's responsiveness to therapy. Brain damage in some individuals may be short-term and recovery of lost function may occur through time while there are reported cases of stroke victims who developed functional brain reorganization. In more infrequent occurrences, part of a stroke patient's brain took control of the function of the damaged region, states the National Stroke Association (NSA).

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In the United States, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year, which is considered to be one of the primary causes of prolonged infirmity in American adults, reports the NSA. General stroke recovery guidelines indicate that 10 percent of stroke victims experience a nearly full recovery; 25 percent get better with minor brain damage; 40 percent undergo special treatment due to impairments that range from mild to serious; 10 percent are admitted in a medical facility that provides nursing or long-term care; and 15 percent pass away within a short period of time after a stroke.

Rehabilitation for stroke survivors usually begins in the acute-care hospital where patients receive medical treatment. The early initiation of rehabilitative therapy, typically within 2 days following onset, may positively impact the overall recovery process. However, doctors must ensure that a patient's overall health condition is fully stabilized prior to introducing the patient to a rehabilitation program.

Depending on how much damage has occurred, the rehabilitation process may involve a series of physical exercises, technology-assisted physical measures, cognitive and emotional activities and newly-developed therapeutic approaches, notes Mayo Clinic. Rehabilitation for stroke survivors is generally designed to improve quality of life in the long run.

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