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Getting fit after paralysis

August 6th, 2014


Getting fit after paralysis

Research has shown that high triglyceride (another type of fat apart cholesterol in your blood) level might contribute to stroke in women.  An easy way to reduce risk o stroke that may cause weakness of your arm or leg, is to keep your triglyceride level within a healthy range by avoiding sugary food and alcohol. The same research said that high level of triglyceride plays a bigger role in causing stroke in women than other well-known factors such as high cholesterol level.

When you have your blood tested, you can see the triglyceride, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. If your triglyceride level is slightly high, you might not need any medication. Simply by watching your diet, you can bring down the triglyceride level naturally, because when your body gets excessive calories or too much sugar or alcohol, the body converts the excess into triglyceride, which is stored in fat cells all over the body. Therefore, by reducing sugar and alcohol intake, you can lower the triglyceride level. Exercise is a good option as well.

In fact, whether you are healthy or unhealthy, exercise is recommended. Even after recovering from paralysis (weakness of arm  and leg), exercise will help restore the parts affected by the stroke. You can rebuild the damaged parts if you exercise regularly, and the exercise benefits both the body and the brain.

Even when a part of your body is weak, you can still exercise other parts. You might need to modify the workout to suit your condition, or ask someone to assist you for safety.

Our brain is constantly developing, and when we learn something new, the brain cells communicate with other cells in the body. Therefore, exercising your body will get your brain working as well, and help improve the communication among the cells.

A stroke might kill some brain cells, and some abilities might be lost based on what cells have been damaged. For example, if the part of the brain that controls your walking is damaged, you might have to relearn the skill. However, relearning is possible – other cells in the brain will take this responsibility. How well they learn depends on how flexible your brain is, so people who exercise regularly before a stroke can recover faster than those who don’t exercise.

The only way to relearn a skill is to practice and practice. The more you do it, the better you can do it. If you don’t do it often enough, the brain cells won’t learn the new task. It is recommended for stroke survivors to exercise as often as they can. For example, if your left hand cannot form a fist, you need to work on that as much as possible.

Just because you’ve survived a stroke and not much paralysis left behind, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise. Some people think that they have recovered enough and stop exercising, but the condition becomes worse because they are inactive. Always stay active and work on the skills that you need to improve. For example, once you can form a fist, try clenching and unclenching quickly, or move only some fingers, until you feel that your hand can do everything it could do before the stroke.

Rehabilitation is pretty much like building a bridge – it is not easy and it takes time. After a stroke, you need twice the effort to perform the tasks that you normally did without any problem. Cardio workout is recommended alongside muscle training. Regular exercise will help strengthen your blood vessels and prevent second stroke. Stroke survivors should exercise moderately 30 minutes a day. It might feel difficult at first, but gradually your body will get used to it.

A patient of mine was about 70 years old, and she had diabetes and high blood pressure. Her left side became weak, especially her leg. After treatment, she could move her left arm and hand well, but her leg wasn’t functioning well. I told her to exercise regularly.

Three months later, she came back in a wheelchair, unable to walk at all. I asked her what happened, and whether she had been exercising.

She said, “Of course, I’ve been exercising, but only my arms and my hands. I don’t exercise my legs that much.”

Confused, I asked, “How do you exercise?”

She said, “I play cards almost every day! The more I play, the better I get, just like that you told me!”


Prof Nithi Mahanonda is consultant cardiologist and interventionist, Perfect Heart Institute.


Weight and water

ข้อคิดเห็นทั้งหมดนี้เป็นความคิดเห็นส่วนบุคคลของผู้อ่าน ไม่เกี่ยวข้องกับเจ้าของเว็บไซต์แต่อย่างใด โปรดแสดงความเห็นด้วยความสุภาพ ถ้าเป็นครั้งแรกที่คุณโพสต์แสดงความเห็น อาจจะมีการคัดกรองเนื้อหาได้ การแสดงความคิดเห็นควรอยู่ในประเด็น ห้ามโจมตีใส่ร้ายบุคคลอื่น หรือทำลิงค์ไปยังเว็บไซต์ที่มีเนื้อหาไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน ผู้ดูแลเว็บไซต์สามารถแก้ไขหรือลบความคิดเห็นได้ทุกกรณี


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