SHREVEPORT, La. – A stroke can happen to anyone. Dr. Katharine Balbuena says she’s seeing them more and more in younger patients.
“So if you think you are 30, 40 and 50 years old and this is not going to happen to me, you have to think again,” she said.
According to Balbuena, 80% of strokes are preventable. And diabetes increases your risk.
“Diabetes alone and with its high sugar content creates plaque, which leads to heart disease. And heart disease is also a risk factor for stroke, ”she said.
Willis Knighton Rehabilitation Institute
If someone has a stroke, they likely need rehabilitation. Balbuena is the medical director of the Willis Knighton Rehabilitation Institute.
“We develop an individual treatment plan for each patient when they come into rehab,” said Balbuena. “We have certain goals that need to be achieved. We need to identify risk factors, educate the patient, and stabilize medical problems. “
Inpatient stroke rehabilitation is intensive, sometimes several hours a day.
“Focus on either your upper extremities, fine motor skills, coordination, balance, and all the things necessary to help you run better, transmit better, walk up and down stairs, and get back in your car so you can get home can drive, ”said Balbuena.
Stroke rehab differs from physical therapy in that it involves neurological recovery.
“The brain begins to recover pretty much immediately. What we do is facilitate this recovery so that they can achieve better balance, hopefully regain the function of the arm or leg that they are not using, and that they can actually control their body so that they can improve their independence “, she said
And Balbuena adds that they are working on their general health to prevent another stroke.
“If you’ve had a stroke, one in four people will have another.”
Lifestyle changes are often necessary.
“I’m just starting to be healthy, exercise, and eat right. You know, watch those fast food calories and really control your blood pressure, ”explains Balbuena.
Balbuena says it is important to be aware of your blood pressure and diabetes numbers.
“When they go home they have the idea, ‘Well, my sugar is going up a bit today, maybe I have to look at my exercise, I have to go for a walk,” said Balbuena.
Anyone who has had a stroke will tell you … Prevention is the best therapy of all.
“Diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. These are your risk factors for stroke. And we really want to prevent that first stroke from happening, if it is at all possible. Until they come to me, I couldn’t prevent this first stroke and I work with them after they have their first stroke, ”said Balbuena.