What should stroke patients not do?

Having a stroke can be a frightening and life-changing experience. While recovering from a stroke, it is important for patients to be careful about the activities they participate in and things they do in their daily life. Certain actions can potentially cause further health complications or slow down the recovery process.

In this article, we will discuss what stroke patients should avoid doing as they heal and get back to their regular routines. Following doctor’s orders and being cautious with physical exertion is key. We will also provide tips on lifestyle modifications to protect the brain and body after stroke.

Avoiding Another Stroke

A major priority after having a stroke is taking the necessary precautions to avoid having another one. According to the American Stroke Association, 1 in 4 stroke survivors will have another stroke within 5 years. Therefore, stroke patients have to be very mindful of their health to reduce risk factors.

Here are some things stroke patients should avoid to prevent a recurrent stroke:

  • Smoking cigarettes – Smoking significantly increases the chances of another stroke. The chemicals in cigarettes damage blood vessels and cause arteries to narrow.
  • Consuming alcohol excessively – Heavy drinking can raise blood pressure and increase stroke risk. No more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day is recommended.
  • Eating high-sodium foods – A diet high in sodium can raise blood pressure. Avoid processed foods, salty snacks, and restaurant meals with excessive sodium.
  • Skipping medication – It’s crucial to take medications as directed to control conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Missing doctor’s appointments – Regular checkups allow doctors to monitor health issues and modify treatment if needed.
  • Ignoring stroke signs – Know the signs of stroke and seek immediate medical care if they appear. Time is brain.
  • Failing to exercise and eat healthy – Lack of exercise and a diet low in nutrients can worsen health problems.
  • Not getting enough sleep – Fatigue weakens the immune system. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Letting stress build up – Unmanaged long-term stress takes a toll on the mind and body.

Avoiding Falls and Other Physical Injuries

Since stroke can affect mobility and balance, patients are at high risk for falls and injuries, especially early on in recovery. Falls can cause head trauma, broken bones, or bleeds that can set back rehab progress and lead to complications. Studies show that up to 73% of stroke patients fall in the first 6 months after their stroke. Protecting the body from harm is imperative.

Here are precautions stroke survivors should take to avoid physical injuries:

  • Use a cane or walker for stability when walking
  • Install grab bars and railings in the shower/bath areas
  • Wear shoes that provide proper foot support and traction
  • Don’t walk without supervision if unsteady
  • Sit down to put pants and shoes on
  • Take extra time when changing positions or bending over
  • Keep floors clutter-free and install night lights
  • Arrange furniture to create clear pathways
  • Place non-slip mats in the bathtub and on tile floors
  • Keep frequently used items within easy reach

It’s also crucial for caregivers to assist with fall prevention by providing help moving around and safely performing daily activities. Create the most secure environment possible.

Not Overexerting Oneself Too Soon

While regular exercise is important after stroke, patients should not push their bodies too hard too fast. Overexertion can strain the heart and lead to serious health consequences.

Here are some types of physical activity that may be too strenuous in the early stages of recovery:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • High-intensity cardio exercise like running on the treadmill
  • Strength training with heavy weights
  • Participating in competitive sports
  • Shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing the lawn
  • Going up and down stairs frequently
  • Walking long distances without breaks

Stroke survivors should follow activity recommendations from their doctor and therapists. It’s better to start slow and gradually increase endurance. Listen to warning signs from your body like dizziness, chest pain, excessive sweating, or extreme fatigue. Don’t overdo it.

Avoiding Constipation

Constipation is a common issue after stroke that should not be ignored. Strain from constipation can potentially damage veins and cause internal bleeding. Some strokes are even triggered by untreated chronic constipation.

To avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Eat high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains
  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge
  • Stay active with daily exercise as able
  • Ask your doctor about over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives if needed

Never hold in a bowel movement or strain excessively. Report any symptoms like abdominal pain or bloating to your healthcare provider immediately.

Avoiding Fatigue

Mental and physical fatigue are very common during stroke recovery. Everyday tasks require more time and energy. However, getting adequate rest is crucial – fatigue actually increases the risk of another stroke.

Here are some ways for stroke survivors to prevent fatigue from setting in:

  • Take short naps and rest breaks as needed
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour each night
  • Ask for help with tasks like cleaning, errands, shopping
  • Reduce clutter and simplify your schedule
  • Pace yourself and take things slowly
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated
  • Express feelings of frustration and exhaustion with loved ones
  • Consider occupational or speech therapy to build up stamina

Listen to your mind and body. Taking on too much while recovering can quickly zap your energy reserves. Prioritize adequate rest and don’t push yourself past the point of exhaustion.

Avoiding Stress and Strong Emotions

Experiencing a stroke is frightening and being overwhelmed with difficult emotions is expected. However, uncontrolled stress can be detrimental to the recovery process. High levels of stress hormones in the body cause inflammation, slow healing, and raise blood pressure.

Here are tips for managing stress after stroke:

  • Talk to a mental health counselor or join a support group
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga
  • Get out in nature and take quiet walks
  • Make time for enjoyable hobbies and social connection
  • Listen to soothing music and get massages
  • Avoid negative and high-tension situations when possible
  • Set reasonable goals and be patient with your progress

Processing emotions with loved ones, focusing on the positives each day, and finding healthy outlets can prevent burnout.

Avoiding Infection

Infections put extra strain on the body and require energy that could better be spent healing. With a weakened immune system after stroke, patients are more susceptible to getting sick.

Some tips for reducing infection risk include:

  • Washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer
  • Staying up to date on vaccinations like the flu shot
  • Disinfecting surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Avoiding contact with those who are ill
  • Not sharing food or drinks with others
  • Keeping skin clean and moisturized to avoid cracks
  • Using proper hygiene and changing bandages when dealing with wounds

Also call your doctor right away if you notice potential signs of infection like fever, increased swelling, pus, worsening headaches, or increased fatigue.

Avoiding Chancellor Rx Blood Pressure Mistakes: Learn From an AI Assistant.

As an AI assistant, let me share with you some common mistakes I see stroke survivors make when managing their blood pressure, along with better approaches:

Mistake Better Approach
Only checking BP at doctor visits Invest in a home monitor and track daily readings
Not taking BP meds consistently Set phone alerts for proper timing; use pillbox
Eating lots of processed foods Focus diet on whole foods like fruits, veggies, lean proteins
Drinking excess alcohol Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks max per day
Skipping doctor appointments Schedule transport if needed; call with concerns
Letting stress build up Make time to decompress; try breathing exercises
Failing to exercise Go for walks (with assistance if needed)
Smoking cigarettes Enroll in a smoking cessation program

I hope these tips help you be more successful in keeping your blood pressure under control. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Avoiding Dangerous Herbal Supplements and Medication Interactions

It can be tempting for stroke patients to try alternative treatments like herbal supplements not approved by their doctor. However, these can interact with medications prescribed after a stroke and cause serious complications.

Here are some precautions patients should take related to medications and supplements:

  • Do not take any herbal supplements like ginkgo biloba or ginseng without doctor approval
  • Carefully read labels of over-the-counter pain relievers and cold medicines
  • Tell all healthcare providers about your medications, vitamins, supplements
  • Use one pharmacy for all prescriptions to monitor for interactions
  • Avoid grapefruit and pomegranate juice which can impact drug absorption
  • Ask for pill crushers and liquid medication forms if trouble swallowing pills
  • Use reminders to take medications on time every day

Keeping an updated medication list in your wallet and taking it to all appointments can help prevent dangerous medication interactions. Always check with your pharmacist when starting anything new.

Avoiding Medical Care After a Stroke

It is absolutely essential for stroke patients to comply with all doctor follow up care after being discharged from the hospital. Skipping appointments and ignoring stroke recovery recommendations from healthcare providers can lead to major setbacks.

Here are compelling reasons to adhere to medical care instructions after stroke:

  • Monitor and treat recurring stroke risk factors
  • Early detection of complications like infections
  • Make adjustments to medications, treatments, therapies
  • Provide support for depression, fatigue, pain
  • Further testing to identify causes of stroke
  • Ongoing rehab to maximize function
  • Referrals to specialists like neurologists
  • Evaluate the need for surgical interventions
  • Prevent future strokes with lifestyle changes

Do not miss doctor visits or stop treatment programs too soon. Stay actively engaged in your medical care and discuss any barriers to adherence at appointments.

Avoiding Social Isolation

The emotional impact of stroke can be profound. Many survivors withdraw from social connections out of exhaustion or embarrassment about disabilities. But isolation only breeds depression. Humans need interaction.

Ways for stroke patients to stay socially engaged include:

  • Attend support groups in-person or online to connect with others going through the same experience
  • Invite friends over for brief visits to chat
  • Stay involved in a faith community for spiritual support
  • Ask family to take you on outdoor outings as able
  • Don’t miss big events like family parties or weddings even if hard
  • Use technology like video calls to see loved ones
  • Keep up social media connections when possible
  • Consider adopting a pet for companionship

Combat tendencies to isolate by actively reaching out to your support system. There are many creative options to stay socially engaged despite limitations.


Recovering from a stroke presents many challenges for patients. While certain actions and activities should be avoided, patients must also be careful not to become overly fearful or determined by this change in life circumstances.

With proper precautions, lifestyle adjustments, and a positive attitude focused on healing, stroke survivors can still live meaningful, engaged lives. Patience and perseverance through the recovery journey is vital. There are always brighter days ahead.

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