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HOPE for Stroke Survivors

Deep Brain Stimulation is an experimental operation and method being tried at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. They hope this stimulation will help stroke survivors recover some of their functionality and mobility that are typically lost with a stroke. Read Doctors Perform Groundbreaking Surgery for Stroke on Time magazine's website.

Stroke Survivor Stories

Bill Heidecker

Dr. Bill Heidecker was a full-time dentist when he had a stroke in 2013. His rehabilitation work at Shepherd Center and Emory Rehabilitation Hospital, and his own determination, helped him recover back to the friendly, warm, and caring person that he is today. He still does some dental work on lifetime patients, and is a volunteer. Bill is a Brain Injury Peer Visitor with our own Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association, providing help to other stroke survivors and their families. He volunteers at the two places he attributes to "saving his own life" — Shepherd and Emory. Read more (PDF) of Bill's story and how his trusted friend, his dog, saved his life.

Kathy Howard

The last thing Kathy expected on her 31st wedding anniversary was a stroke. But that is exactly what happened. In a way Kathy feels that the stroke saved her life. She was overweight and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She was working a stressful job and not putting herself first. Right after her stroke, she was also diagnosed with diabetes. Her stroke was the wake-up call she needed. Although her recovery was difficult, she vowed to fight for her life. Kathy embraced a healthier lifestyle after her stroke to prevent subsequent strokes and heart disease. Let Kathy inspire you to make your own changes in your lifestyle: Read her story on the "Faces of Stroke" page of the National STROKE Association's website.

Julie Jarman

In 2007, Julie Jarman had a brain hemorrage In Canberra, Australia. She was in intensive care for 5 weeks, then a rehab facility for over 4 months. Read her account of her injury and her success.

Michael L.

On August 16th, 2009, Michael got a headache which he ignored at first. Throughout the next couple of days things went from bad to worse, and he found out at Emory Hospital he had a cavernous malformation in his basal ganglia. He never knew anything about it until it suddenly ruptured and resulted in a very slow version of a stroke. He has had an incredible recovery and is back at Kennesaw State University where he is a Junior majoring in Mathematics. His brain injury gave him a deep appreciation for life, and he would not have recovered as well as he did if he had not been optimistic. Michael's advice? Just keep a positive attitude always. His favorite quote is "Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be." — Eleanor Roosevelt. Read Michael's full story here.

Bob Mandell

Bob is better known as "The Stroke Victor." Bob had a severe stroke back in 1996. "Join The Stroke Victor from his days as a paralyzed, hiccupping, barely speaking massive stroke survivor living in a Connecticut nursing home to journeys to Australian and New Zealand vineyards where he and his caregiver wife enjoyed so many marvelous activities." Bob wrote a book entitled Stroke Victor – How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor. Read Bob's entire story about his stroke and his amazing recovery in his book. In his own words: "Stroke Victor is a How-To Book! It is not another survivor story, heartfelt as it may be. Follow this fact-filled, informative and realistically holistic approach to beating the odds after stroke."

Read about Bob starting a research foundation for stroke: Stroke survivor becomes advocate for research, will launch new foundation.

Allison O'Reilly

Allison O'Reilly had a stroke in 2010. She also experienced the rare "Locked-In Syndrome". She was a woman engaged in a full-time career, her family, and her normal-yet-challenging everyday life. She then had a massive stroke. Read Allison's story of "inspiration, love and hope," as well as sharing lessons learned during her devastating time.

Jamie Scrubas

Jamie Scrubas, 48, experienced a stroke the summer of 2014. He had to relearn to think, speak clearly, walk, and use his arm & leg. Jamie was engaged to be married to Tami Florio when his stroke occurred. In 2015, Tami is becoming a caregiver Brain Injury Peer Visitor at Shepherd with the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association®. Read about Jamie and Tami and their wedding in the Shepherd Center's Secret Garden. Also, watch an 11 Alive TV video about their heartwarming story.

Mark Selman

At a picnic, Mark's wife, Sherri, noticed that he stopped talking, was sweating, and was slumped to one side. She immediately realized that her husband was having a stroke. Fortunately, he was rushed to a hospital where he was given tPA, a blood-clot-busting drug, and transferred to Piedmont Hospital. He had an occluded artery that was blocked by the blood clot. Thanks to the entire stroke team at Piedmont Hospital, he made a remarkable recovery in the next few days. Read the article about Mark (PDF) that appeared in the Winter 2010-11 edition of Piedmont Profiles. Ann Boriskie, Director of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Program, had the privilege to Peer Visit both Mark and Sheri when Mark was a patient in Piedmont's Neurosciences Unit.

Charles Stanley

I want to give back, by being a mentor for someone going through stroke, never never give up. On Feb. 20, 2012 when life throws you a curve ball, I never thought it would happen to me, ability to walk, read, write, speak, or comprehend, it was hard and fearful, but with God, miracles happen. Heb. 13:5 I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Three days in I.C.U., four weeks in rehabilitation center at Southern Regional Medical Center, I hope my video will encourage others, that through the storms of life, you can make it, quitting is not an option.

Read about Charles and our team of Peer Visitors in the Fayette County News. (PDF)

Dick Taylor

Dick Taylor is a member of the Emory Rehabilitation Hospital's Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association Program. He is also a member of their stroke support group there at Emory Rehab. Visiting with Dick now, you would not have a clue that he had a stroke less than 3 years ago. He had one side of his body paralyzed and could not walk, talk, feed himself, etc. Read his story in the StrokeSmart online magazine.

Wes Varda

Hello. On December 11, 2008 I had a brain stem stroke which rendered me "locked in". As of today, I have had an amazing recovery and am back to doing a lot of the everyday things I enjoy.

Read more about Wes and watch a YouTube video of his incredible recovery!

3 Common Post-stroke Emotional & Behavioral Changes

Brain injury caused by a stroke can create common emotional and behavioral changes to the survivor. Three changes are: depression, dramatic mood swings, and anger. Learn some ways to deal with these changes to help with a smooth recovery in this article on the StrokeSmart website.

6 Surprising Facts About Stroke

If you or a loved one experienced a stroke, you probably learned a lot about it. Discover some interesting stroke facts that you may not be aware of on the StrokeSmart website.

A Caregiver's Guide to Surviving Stroke

10 tips to help keep you going, from the wife of a stroke survivor.

Nancy Coulter-Parker | Oct 17, 2013

On Jan. 4, 2011, Charlene DeGroot's husband (then 65), had a stroke, which left him with aphasia. Charlene and her husband were featured in the October 2013 issue of StrokeSmart® magazine. Here is a continuation of Charlene's tips to surviving a stroke and what helps her keep going as she continually works with her husband to improve his health.

  1. "Remember the patient is human; don't talk like they're not there, talk to them, they're still alive."
  2. If you travel, take an extra set of medication—one in a purse, one in a suitcase, so that you have a backup. "I travel with an extra set so that I at least have 24 hours to get in to a pharmacy."
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for the "handicap" parking sticker. "Intermittently, Roy's back went out. He can walk, but he doesn't have the stamina that he used to have. A doctor asked me what I was going to do the day his back goes out and I can't move him from A to B. So we got the sticker. We don't abuse it, but every once in a blue moon we have to park further away than we would like and it's a significant help. You shouldn't be afraid to use it."
  4. Use humor. "If we didn't laugh, we would be crying all the time. And there are days that are really dark and you have to dig deeper. We choose joy. You have to laugh."Don't be ashamed or hesitant to talk about what's happened in your life.
  5. Don't be ashamed or hesitant to talk about what's happened in your life. "The stroke happened and you can move on, but there's nothing wrong with talking about it." Joining a group is a good thing to do. "You have a lot to share. Other people have been through it too, and can share and help you. You can help each other."
  6. Consider the terms you use. "You're a patient when you're in the hospital. When you're walking around after being in the hospital, you're not a patient. You're a person. If you keep telling someone ‘You're a patient,' they will act like a patient. My husband is a client now. He's paying for services. He had a stroke and he has side effects. And yes, I give assistance and care, but I'm not a caregiver. If he looks upon me as a caregiver, then he's unable. But he's very capable in many areas. I'm his partner. He helps me and I help him."
  7. Use a schedule for control. "I'm a control freak. I like things in order. I live by my calendar. Whenever I feel like I'm going out of control, I like to write in my calendar and check things off. So when I'm having a bad day, I get out the calendar and put life back in order. It's very liberating."
  8. "I like helping other people. Helping people helps me make sense of it and helps them make sense of it. That's an important piece in every way of life. Whether you're helping someone who has had a stroke or otherwise, help others."
  9. "Your friends that are your friends will be your friends. You soon learn who are your friends." She adds, "If you can't see me or talk to me while I'm alive, please don't show up at the funeral."
  10. "The power of prayer is very important to me. Religion is a strong point that helps me get through each day."


A Common Myth About Stroke Survivors

AphasiaOne in four stroke survivors experience some form of language impairment after a stroke. This impairment is called aphasia, a disorder of communication that damages a person's ability to use and comprehend language.

Because stroke survivors with aphasia have difficulty speaking and understanding language, they are often mistaken for having impaired cognitive functions. But aphasia does not affect intelligence.

Afib (Atrial Fibrillation) — One Cause of Stroke What does an irregular heartbeat have to do with stroke? Atrial fibrillation (Afib) affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. And that number may be even higher, as many people with Afib have no symptoms. People with Afib have a five times greater risk for stroke. During National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month make the Afib-Stroke Connection and learn about this important and controllable condition, and how it relates to stroke.

» What you need to know about Afib

Just like a little fib can cause a big problem, so can Afib if left untreated. September is Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Awareness Month.

Afib is a type of irregular heartbeat, affecting about 2.7 million people in the U.S. Normally, your heart beats 60-100 times per minute but with Afib it can beat as high as 175 times per minute.

» Learn more about Afib

National Stroke Association has joined forces with the Mended Hearts, Inc., Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and Spirit Health Group to bring you a patient-minded Afib website. Here you can learn:

  • More about Afib
  • How to manage Afib
  • How to talk to your healthcare team about your Afib
  • About stroke risk reduction

Know the facts. Check out AlittleFIB today!

Aphasia Apps

Smartphones and tablets provide technological tools to help stroke survivors with aphasia like never before. Check out this extensive list of aphasia mobile apps.


Do I Have A Migraine, Or Is This A Stroke?

The symptoms of a stroke and the symptoms of a migraine headache have a lot in common. Click here to discover some key indicators that can help you tell the difference.

Facts About Aphasia

3 things about aphasia

Imagine having a brain injury or a stroke and then being unable to speak, read, write or understand what is being said to you. This is aphasia.

Aphasia is an impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year and the most common cause of aphasia is stroke.

Bill and Kurt, stroke survivors with aphasia
Read more . . .

It is estimated that 25 to 40 percent of stroke survivors acquire aphasia. Although widely occurring, most people have never heard of it. There are different types of aphasia and no two individuals experience this condition in the same way. For some, aphasia will last a few days or weeks; for others, it will be a lifelong recovery.

Meet Bill and Kurt, two stroke survivors who have dealt with aphasia. Learn more about aphasia and begin to understand the daily struggle of those who experience it.

  • Aphasia is being recognized as a problem that lingers long after a person's stroke. New therapies help stroke patients regain speech functions years after their brain injury. Proof is showing that the brain's plasticity (its ability to change and heal) may last many years after a brain injury; thus, improvements can continue years later. Read the full story here.
  • Read What It Really Is Like To Have Aphasia by Marion Rasmussen, Stroke Survivor.
  • See a list of aphasia support groups in Georgia.
  • See a list of aphasia support groups in Florida.
  • Caring for a Person With Aphasia, I will:
    • Encourage the person to speak and praise all efforts. Promote and encourage independence.
    • Give the person every opportunity to express him or herself.
    • Speak in short, simple sentences, using a natural voice and a slow rate of speech.
    • Practice speech exercises during short sessions in the home.
    • Carefully place myself and all objects within the person's visual range, if there is a cut in the person's visual field.

    I will not:

    • Force the person to speak.
    • Speak for the person unless absolutely necessary.
    • Interrupt the person when he or she is speaking.
    • Anticipate the person's every need.
    • Talk about the person in his or her presence; lack of speech does not mean lack of comprehension or lack of intelligence.
  • Aphasia: Tips to remember names and words: Aphasia speech therapy, Part 1 & Part 2
    Watch this two-video series to learn about memory and how those who are quite good at remembering names do it. From Moshe Mark Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP, Senior Speech Language Pathologist and author of The Teaching of Talking.

Fatigue - 7 Ways to Manage It

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints associated with any form of brain injury, including stroke. Read this (PDF) to see how to manage your fatigue levels.

Source: Brain Injury New Zealand

Improve Aphasia from Home

About one out of every four stroke survivors experience some form of language impairment, such as aphasia, after a stroke. While a healthcare professional can help with different treatments, many survivors want to know what can be done from home to further improve aphasia, especially in cases where therapy has ended.

  • Play word-based games, such as board games, cards, and crossword puzzles.
  • Cook a new recipe and read the ingredients.
  • Write out a shopping list.
  • Go out to eat, order off a menu and calculate the tip.
  • Send out greeting cards to loved ones.


National STROKE Association Brain Alert Newsletters

September 2012

Read articles on:

  • Faces of Stroke (Stroke Survivors)
  • Eight Everyday Stroke Risks
  • Transportation After Stroke
  • When Caregiving Is Stressful

October 2012

Read articles on:

  • Depression and Emotional Episodes
  • Post-stroke Conditions
  • Virtual Support Group for Caregivers

February 2013

Read articles on:

  • Depression and Emotional Episodes
  • Post-stroke Conditions
  • Virtual Support Group for Caregivers

Recognizing a Stroke


A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke . . . totally . . . He said the trick is getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Anatomy of a stroke

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by remembering the first three letters of the word, "stroke," and asking three simple questions:

S Ask the individual to SMILE.
T Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE coherently. (e.g. "It is sunny out today.")
R Ask him/her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he/she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call the emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign Of A Stroke — Stick Out Your Tongue

Another sign of a stroke is this: Ask the person to stick out his/her tongue. If the tongue is "crooked," if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

Could You Have a 'Mini-Stroke' And Not Know It?


Also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a mini-stroke can occur before a major one leads to permanent damage.

Watch out for these warning signs.

Stem cells promote stroke recovery

In 2015, a yearlong study of stroke patients has found that stem cells from a patient's bone marrow can be safely infused in the brain through the carotid artery to promote recovery. Researchers at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine followed 48 patients, more than half of whom who were treated using stem cells, and found recovery along with no adverse side effects when compared with their counterparts. Read the story here.

Stroke: The REALITY

Published on Oct. 28, 2014 by the National Stroke Association.

Stroke is thought of by many as something that affects the elderly. But in REALITY, stroke can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. Learn about the impact of stroke and arm yourself with lifesaving information.

Video cameraPart 1 - What does stroke really mean?
Part 2 - How can I reduce my rise for stroke?

Stroke Book List

Guides, Workbooks, and Textbooks

  • Brain (Body focus: Injury, Illness, and Health)
    By Steve Parker

    A detailed book about the brain.

  • Brain, Heal Thyself: A Caregiver's new Approach to Recovery from Stroke, Aneurysm, and Traumatic Brain Injuries
    By Madonna Siles

    When Eve suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm, Madonna Siles, her housemate and friend, too quickly found herself making critical short- and long-term medical care decisions.

  • Healing into Possibility: The Transformational Lessons of a Stroke
    By Allison Bonds Shapiro

    Allison Bonds Shapiro suffered two debilitating and nearly fatal strokes in her fifties. This book chronicles her experience.

  • Psychotherapeutic Interventions for Adults with Brain Injury or Stroke: A Clinician's Treatment Resource
    By Karen G. Langer
  • Stroke: A Comprehensive Guide to "Brain Attacks": Everything You Need To Know
    By Vladimir Hachinski, Larissa Hachinski

    An authoritative resource on strokes designed for both sufferers and anyone who needs to understand this disease.

  • Stroke: A Practical Approach
    By James D. Geyer, Camilo R. Gomez

    This book is a unique source of practical information for frontline providers of care for stroke patients.

  • Stroke: Brain Assault: Suggestions, Encouragement and Exercises to Help You or Your Loved One Overcome the Effects of a Stroke
    By Madelina A. Depaz

    The story of one woman's experience of an aneurysm stroke.

  • Stroke: Practical Guide for Clinicians
    By N.M. Bornstein
  • Stroke: Practical Management
    By Charles P. Warlow, Graeme J. Hankey, Peter Langhorne, Joanna M. Wardlaw, Peter Rothwell

    Completely updated edition, written by a close-knit author team. Presents a unique approach to stroke.

  • Stroke
    By Louis R. Caplan

    Stroke, the fourth volume in a series sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology, was written for both stroke survivors and individuals wishing to learn more.

  • Stronger After Stroke: Your Roadmap to Recovery
    By Peter G. Levine

    Written for stroke survivors, their caregivers and their loved ones. Stroke survivors recover by using the same learning techniques that anyone uses to master anything.

  • The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science
    By R. Douglas Fields, Ph.D

    Despite everything that has been written about the brain, a very important part of this vital organ has been overlooked in most books until now.

Books by Stroke Survivors & Caregivers

  • Brain, Heal Thyself: A Caregiver's New Approach to Recovery From Stroke, Aneurysm, and Traumatic Brain Injuries
    By M.D. Lawrence J. Beuret

    This is a good book about the before, during, and after of trauma-like brain injuries. The author explains how lonely the caregiver is and how overwhelming the task.

  • Climbing the Mountain: Stories of Hope and Healing after Brain Injury and Stroke
    By Candice Fancher

    An inspiring anthology of stories by stroke/brain injury patients and their family members.

  • Conquering Stroke: How I Fought My Way Back and How You Can Too
    By Valerie Green

    The informative, inspirational, and moving account of Valerie Greene's journey.

  • Don't Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back On My Feet You'll Be Sorry
    By Julia Fox Garrison

    The story of a 37-year-old woman suffering a massive brain hemorrhage and her extraordinary recovery.

  • Eureka! Memories and Motivations: A Strategy for Creating a Healing Home for the Stroke/Brain Injury Patient and Caregiver
    By Madonna Siles

    Strokes and brain injuries can strike on any given day, out of the blue, changing lives of loved ones forever.

  • How to Conquer the World With One Hand…And an Attitude (Second Edition)
    By Paul E. Berger

    The account of Paul and Stephanie's struggle against a serious illness and the system that was supposed to help them.

  • Living with Stroke: A Guide for Families
    By Richard c. Selenick
  • My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey
    By Jill Bolte Taylor

    Jill Bolte Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained and published brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain.

  • My Stroke of Luck
    By Kirk Douglas

    At age 84, one of Hollywood's brightest stars offers the inspirational but not at all Pollyannish story of his recovery.

  • Out of the Darkness
    By Allison O'Reilly

    An inspirational memoir – Allison shares her encouraging story of stroke and the rare "Locked-In Syndrome" she experienced. She tells her miraculous recovery, despite enormous odds. A story of inspiration, love and hope.

  • Sara's Story
    By Timothy Culver

    When his 42-year-old wife and mother of their three children suffered a major stroke, Tim Culver could not believe it.

  • Stroke Victor – How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor
    By Bob Mandell

    In Bob Mandell's own words: "Stroke Victor is a How-To Book! It is not another survivor story, heartfelt as it may be. Follow this fact-filled, informative and realistically holistic approach to beating the odds after stroke!"

  • The Diving Bell and The Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death
    By Jean Dominique Bauby

    In December of 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, 43-year-old editor-in-chief of Elle magazine in France, suffered a stroke which severely damaged his brain stem. After several weeks in a coma, he woke to find that he was one of the rare victims of a condition called "locked-in syndrome," or LIS, which had left his mind functioning but his body almost completely paralyzed.

Stroke Facts

  • Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. However, less than one-third of people in the U.S. can recognize more than one stroke warning sign. Teaching more people to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke is more urgent than ever. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, help us reach as many people as possible with this life-saving information.
  • One-third of strokes occur in people younger than 65.
  • For those younger than 45, the stroke risk has increased from 14% to 20%.
  • It is also a leading cause of disability and touches approximately four out of five families in the U.S., according to the National Stroke Association.
  • Neurologists usually recommend the most rigorous program a patient can handle, making acute, hospital-based rehabilitation the ultimate in rehab options for stroke patients.
  • According to the National Stroke Association, by 2030, it is estimated that 4 million people will have had a stroke.
  • From the National Stroke Association's 2011 Annual Report:

Stroke Happens to Kids, Too

It is estimated that in the U.S., stroke affects about six in 100,000 children — a reminder that stroke can happen at any age. Pediatric strokes are more difficult to diagnose. Unless a child is born sick and has seizures or apnea, stroke symptoms do not become evident until the child is at least a few months older.

Read 9-year-old Elijah's Faces of Stroke story about having a stroke before he was born, and deciding to educate the world about pediatric stroke when he was just 5 years old.

Stroke Help Line

Stroke Help Line Are you looking for information on stroke, rehab and recovery, resources, support groups and more? National Stroke Association's Stroke Help Line is a volunteer-staffed call center for those who have experienced stroke in their lives. Call (800) STROKES (787-6537) and choose menu option 3 to talk to their volunteers Monday through Friday, between 9:00am and 4:00pm Mountain Time.

Stroke Prevention

Love Your Brain

8 Stroke Risk Factors You Can Control

Reduce your risk for stroke or recurrent stroke. Get a handle on these most common controllable risk factors:
  1. High blood pressure
  2. Atrial fibrillation
  3. High cholesterol
  4. Diabetes
  5. Atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries)
  6. Smoking
  7. Alcohol use
  8. Obesity
» Learn more about these and other factors.

The goal of Hospital Rehabilitation Units is not only to provide the rehabilitative services for regaining medical and functional skills, but also to provide patients with preventive information to maintain a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their medical diagnosis. We want to share this information with all of our patients and families so that you are aware of how you can help fight against stroke, the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States.

DIET: Follow a diet with more fruits, vegetables, and grains than meat and limit your fat intake. Choose fats that are heart-healthy, like olive oil or canola oil. Choose lean cuts of meat and fish that are broiled or baked. Limit your sodium or salt intake: avoid salt, processed meats, cheese, snack-type chips, olives, and pickles. Increasing the fiber in your diet will help to control weight, blood sugar, and decrease your cholesterol. Fiber can be found in whole grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Start drinking or cooking with lower-fat milk, such as 2% or skim milk.
MEDICATION: Be sure that you are following the medication program your doctor has outlined for you. Medications for elevated blood pressure, to control a rapid or irregular heart rate, to control your diabetes, to control elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, or to thin your blood must be taken faithfully as ordered. Always be sure your doctor knows all the medications or supplements that you take both by prescription and over the counter. If you are taking medication that you feel is too expensive, talk to your doctor about medication that may be less expensive. There are many programs through the drug companies which could help with the cost of your medication.
BLOOD THINNERS: Blood thinners that are prescribed (aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin, or Aggrenox) should be continued unless your doctor tells you to stop. This helps keep the blood flowing to your brain and heart. Be sure all of your doctors and your dentist know the medications that you take.
EXERCISE: Be sure your doctor says that you can safely exercise, then start slowly and work up to a moderate level of exercise 3 to 5 times a week. Park in the parking space farthest from the door. Take the stairs. Exercise adds up just like calories.
ALCOHOL INTAKE: If you don't drink, don't start. If you do drink, keep your intake to no more than one drink per day.
GENERAL HEALTH: If you have a chronic health problem like diabetes, be sure to eat the calories allowed and to follow the steps outlined by your doctor to stay healthy. Diabetic patients must monitor their blood sugar and keep a record. Take this record to the doctor during scheduled appointments. Take your medication to control your blood sugar. The closer to normal your blood sugar is, the less likely you will have problems related to your diabetes such as a stroke, kidney failure, amputation, or vision difficulties.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: Know your blood pressure readings. Be sure to take your prescribed medication. Don't skip it because you are feeling well. Know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
MEDICAL FOLLOWUP: Keep your follow up appointments with your medical doctors to stay in the best health possible.
SMOKING: Smoking has a negative effect on your blood vessels that can lead to stroke and heart disease. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, cut back and try to quit. Your doctor can recommend and prescribe medication to help you stop smoking.

Stroke Resource Guide

Literature & Information

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans. AHRQ supports research that helps people make more informed decisions and improves the quality of healthcare services.

  • American Heart Association

    (800) AHA-USA-1

  • American Stroke Association

    (800) 787-6537 or (770) 952-1316

    To order booklets, call (800) 611-6083

  • Careliving Community

    National Stroke Association is pleased to announce the official launch of Careliving Community, a new online social network designed exclusively for caregivers and family members of stroke survivors. This free private space allows caregivers and loved ones of stroke survivors to connect, share advice and swap stories through a discussion forum. Careliving also offers a blog written by fellow caregivers and live chats with experts on caregiving. Careliving was developed based on a serious need among caregivers for a private online support space where individuals can find peer-level support and also learn to take better care of themselves. Caregivers can join the Careliving Community here.

  • National Stroke Association

    (800) STROKES or (800) 787-6537

  • Stroke Family Support Network

    Information and referral service: Mon-Fri 7:30am - 7:00pm CST (877) 835-3157

  • Stroke Information & Resource Guide

    Recognizing and reacting to a stroke. More good information on strokes.

  • the rehab revolution

    A useful blog written by Pamela Hsieh, an entrepreneur and writer living in Chicago who had a stroke at the age of 19. Her goal with her blog is to inspire lively conversation between healers, patients, caregivers, and anyone who supports what they do. Pamela is very motivated to get the word out and help to the healing of TBI and stroke patients.

Educational Materials and Resources

  • Understanding Brain Injury

    What should you know about brain injury and recovery? Watch a series of incredible videos produced by the Shepherd Center. They feature some of the nation's top physicians, neuroscientists, and brain injury experts to help you understand brain injury and gives you practical advice for coping with brain Injury.

  • Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

    800 East 28th Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55407

  • Eldercare Locator

    (800) 677-1116

  • Caregiver Action Netork

    (800) 896-3650

  • Family Caregiver Alliance

    785 Market Street
    Suite 750
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 434-3388
    (800) 445-8106

    Newsletters and greeting cards for caregivers are available to members. Strives to be a voice to Capitol Hill regarding caregiver issues.


  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

    (888) 687-2277

  • Careliving Community

    National Stroke Association is pleased to announce the official launch of Careliving Community, a new online social network designed exclusively for caregivers and family members of stroke survivors. This free private space allows caregivers and loved ones of stroke survivors to connect, share advice and swap stories through a discussion forum. Careliving also offers a blog written by fellow caregivers and live chats with experts on caregiving. Careliving was developed based on a serious need among caregivers for a private online support space where individuals can find peer-level support and also learn to take better care of themselves. Caregivers can join the Careliving Community here.

  • Let's Talk Stroke

    Practical, useful information for stroke survivors, their caregivers, and their families in the journey of recovery. (The spouse of a former patient of WellStar Kennestone Inpatient Rehab developed this website.)

  • Well Spouse Foundation

    (800) 838-0879



Legal Services

Rehabilitation and Adaptive Devices


    (800) 227-0216

    Assistive product information for people with handicaps or disabilities.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Disabled Driver Evaluations

  • Vocational Rehab

    Counselor through State of Georgia (DHR) at Warm Springs

  • Handicapped Driver Services

    (770) 422-9674

    Kennesaw: evaluations, adaptations, van rentals

  • DeKalb Medical Center

    (404) 501-5140 Beth Anderson

  • Shepherd Center

    (404) 305-7798 Michelle Luther-King

  • Emory Rehab Services

    (404) 712-5527

Adaptations (of your car, van, etc.)

  • Adapted Mobility Systems (Norcross)
    (770) 662-5242
  • Handicapped Driver Services (Kennesaw)
    (770) 442-9674
  • R&R (Conyers)
    (770) 483-0767
  • DuraMed (Augusta)
    (706) 737-0500 or (800) 637-1378
  • Macaway (Athens)
    (706) 353-1099

Note: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have rebate programs to help with the cost of adaptations on new vehicles.

The above list is provided by the National and American Stroke Associations as a resource list for their patients. The organizations, associations, and foundations are not owned or provided by the Stroke Association. This listing does not mean the American Heart Association or Stroke Association give recommendations and endorsements.

Stroke Treatment: Thrombectomy

A thrombectomy procedure (surgical removal of a blood clot from a blood vessel) done within hours after an ischemic stroke can often forestall damage. The procedure, in which a doctor pulls clots from the brain, is transforming stroke treatment. The availability of the procedure depends on where the patient lives, but it has been used in some hospitals for over 10 years.

About 13% of strokes are hemorrhagic (bleeding), which do not involve a blood clot and cannot benefit from thrombectomy.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal (PDF).

Stroke Videos

  • Stroke Recovery: Taking Back Our Lives
    60 minutes of experiences, advice and helpful information given by stroke survivors, caregivers, family, friends, doctors, and other health professionals.
  • Surviving a Stroke
    Learn what stroke victims have done to adapt and enjoy life once again.
  • The Diving Bell and The Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death
    The story of Elle editor-in-chief Jean-Dominique Bauby.

SYNERGY Home Care May 2011 Newsletter

Read articles on:

  • Practicing Prevention, Realizing Rehabilitation
  • Eight Everyday Stroke Risks
  • Types of Stroke
  • TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
  • Stroke Warning Signs

The Rancho & Glasgow Coma Scales

The Rancho Scale is used to rate the severity of comas and levels of cognitive functioning. See a revised Rancho Scale as well as other coma scales from the Northeast Center for Special Care.

Rancho Level of Cognitive Functioning

Level I — No response to stimulation
Level II — Generalized response to stimulation
Level III — Localized response to stimulation
Level IV — Confused, agitated behavior
Level V — Confused, inappropriate, non-agitated behavior
Level VI — Confused, appropriate behavior
Level VII — Automatic, appropriate behavior
Level VIII — Purposeful, appropriate behavior

Glasgow Coma Scale (Score at 30 minutes post-injury)

Eye openings Best Motor Response Best Verbal Response
1 = no response 4 = withdrawal to pain 1 = no response
2 = to pain 5 = localized to pain 2 = incomprehensible sounds
3 = to voice 6 = follows commands 3 = inappropriate words
4 = spontaneously 4 = disoriented but converses
5 = oriented and converses

Tips for Wellness After a Stroke

Eleven tips to improve your health, physically and emotionally, and reduce your risk of a second stroke.

Sara Palmer, PhD | Feb 06, 2014

If you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, take a class or stop smoking, you've taken the first step toward wellness. Wellness is about feeling your best physically and emotionally: having more energy, getting fit, relaxing and enjoying life.

When you're a stroke survivor, wellness is also about reducing your risk of a second stroke. Here are eleven steps you can take to reduce your future stroke risk and improve your wellness for the year ahead. But don't try tackling all of these at once. You'll have better success at implementing these changes if you only take on one or two steps at a time.

  1. Take care of yourself. Medical conditions you may have had before your stroke can raise your risk for a second stroke or heart disease. These include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Keeping these conditions under control—by changing your diet (less sugar, salt and fat), exercising, using medications as prescribed and seeing your doctor for regular checkups—is essential to taking care of yourself and feeling well.
  2. Sleep tight. A good night's sleep renews physical energy and improves concentration, memory and learning. Sleeping well at night and taking naps can reduce the debilitating fatigue many stroke survivors experience. Scientists' recent discovery of a neural system that "scrubs" the brain and flushes out toxins during sleep may explain why your brain works better and you feel refreshed after a good night's sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep, try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, keep TV and electronic devices out of the bedroom and create a relaxing pre-sleep routine (such as taking a warm shower).
  3. Deal with depression. It is very common to be depressed after a stroke. This state of mind can make you feel miserable and can raise your risk for other illnesses. Treating depression with mental health counseling or antidepressant medication can be very effective. Regular sleep, exercise and social support can also help.
  4. Eat right. Your diet can be nutritious and delicious without excessive calories. In general, diets with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, and less sugar, salt, red meat, butter and cheese are lower in calories, help control weight and reduce your risk of illness. Try eating smaller portions, enjoying your meal without distractions (like the TV), sampling some heart-healthy recipes, tasting new vegetables and using a sugar substitute. A dietician can customize a diet for your medical needs—to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, control blood pressure or manage digestive or swallowing problems.
  5. Get moving. Physical activity helps you lose weight, sleep better, feel good about your body, improve your mood, and maintain the ability to do the things you enjoy. Choose an exercise you like and can do, such as walking, gardening, dancing or swimming, so you'll stick with it.
  6. Stay social. Research studies show that social support is a key ingredient for mental and physical health and recovery from illness, including stroke. Having a large number of social connections and a few emotionally intimate relationships (e.g., with a spouse or best friend) are linked with better recovery of abilities, including thinking and memory; less chance of becoming depressed; more accurately following medical recommendations; and better quality of life. Stroke support groups are an excellent way to find friends who know what you're going through. Find one near you.
  7. Stop smoking. Smoking is a scientifically proven cause of lung cancer and emphysema. Smoking also contributes to heart disease and stroke. The good news is that according to the American Lung Association, you can reverse many health risks of smoking—if you quit! In just a few months, your heart attack risk can start to drop and your lung function can begin to improve. One year after quitting, your additional risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's and five to 15 years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke is the same as a nonsmoker's. When you stop, you may have more energy and be able to stay active longer. If you need help to quit smoking, try taking a stop-smoking class or ask your doctor about medications.
  8. Drink less alcohol. After a stroke, alcohol can magnify problems with thinking, memory, balance and depression. Excessive alcohol use increases risk for many health problems, including stroke. While some people may benefit from a small amount of alcohol, others should not drink any. Consult your doctor for advice.
  9. Do what you love. Participate in hobbies, sports, community, religious or civic organizations, theater, music—whatever you enjoy. These positive experiences enrich your life, strengthen your sense of purpose and make you feel good.
  10. Have fun. Humor, laughter and seeing the funny side of situations can help you cope with difficult circumstances, have a more positive outlook and enjoy life more. Humor may reduce the experience of pain and anxiety, and while it may not cure diseases, humor and having fun contribute to wellness by helping you feel your best emotionally.
  11. Relax. Relaxation reduces mental and physical tension, restores well-being and recharges your batteries. Resting your body and "turning off" your mind for even 10 minutes can put you in a better mood all day. Some things you can do to relax are meditate, soak in a hot bath, listen to soothing music or sit outside in nature.


Top 10 Ways Stroke Recovery is Different for Young Adults

It is a common misconception that stroke only affects the elderly. However, approximately one-third of all strokes occur in people between the ages of 18 and 65. Young stroke survivors face a unique set of challenges as they begin their recovery journey after a stroke. Here are the top 10 ways that recovery is different for young adult stroke survivors.Young People

  1. Career — Having a stroke at a young age can cause a severe disruption in employment. Most young people who have a stroke will need some amount time off from work, and some will be unable to return to work at all. Those who do return often find that they can no longer work in the same capacity as before— fatigue, memory problems, and concentration issues hinder performance and cause a great deal of frustration.
  2. Finances — When a stroke occurs decades before the age of retirement, most people don't have the savings to sufficiently support themselves and their families during a time of crisis. Not only does the survivor need time off from work, their spouse may also need to take a leave of absence to provide the necessary care. While Social Security Disability Insurance is an option for some, it can take months to be approved. In the meantime, young survivors face the fear of bankruptcy and ballooning debt.
  3. Young people are unaware of the risk of stroke. They typically hold a belief that they are too young to have a stroke, even if they have risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure. Strokes among young people, however, are on the rise —15% of ischemic strokes occur in young people and adolescents.
  4. Misdiagnosis — One alarming fact about stroke in young adults is that it is sometimes misdiagnosed or not recognized as a stroke by family, friends, and medical providers due to the belief that stroke only happens to the elderly. Unfortunately, this can cause delays in treatment for hours or even days. This is a major concern when considering that tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the lifesaving clot buster, is most effective if given within three hours of stroke onset. Missing this window can have devastating effects on the recovery prognosis.
  5. Hidden symptoms — In young people, the lasting effects of a stroke can hide below the surface where they are felt but not seen. Survivors may experience effects that include post-stroke fatigue, emotional outbursts, and an inability to focus. There is a disconnect between how they look and how they feel. Educating employers, co-workers, friends, and family about the hidden effects of a stroke can help the survivor feel more understood.
  6. Life expectancy — Young stroke survivors have a long life ahead of them, and this means that a large portion of their life will be spent dealing with the effects of their stroke. Financial and caregiving arrangements may need to be made for many years or decades.
  7. Faster recovery — Young people tend to recover faster and more completely than older adults. A young person's brain has more plasticity and more easily “rewires” than an elderly person's brain. They may also be in better physical shape than an older person and are therefore more able to complete physical therapy tasks.
  8. Insurance — Typically, adults do not qualify for Medicare until they are 65, and some young stroke survivors are either uninsured to begin with or lose their insurance when they can no longer work after a stroke. While individuals can qualify for Medicare before the age of 65 if they are approved for SSDI, and they may qualify for Medicaid if they can no longer work, insurance issues can be very stressful for young survivors.
  9. Family — Family looks different for a young survivor than an older person. A young survivor may have children whom they are raising, or, they may be thinking about plans to start a family. Parenting is stressful, and the effects of stroke can greatly increase this stress. It is also a very difficult time for the loved ones of the survivor who now have added responsibilities and changing roles.
  10. Lower co-morbidity — Young stroke survivors typically have fewer co-morbidities — health problems occurring at the same time as other health problems — than older people. This means that there are less health conditions such as diabetes, dementia, and heart disease that can complicate the recovery process. This can lead to better outcomes in younger survivors.