Patient Progress - Strokes

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20030924

Recovery And Resilience: In the second of two programmes, Isabel Fraser talks to people who have learned to live with aphasia - the loss of language - after a stroke. / Strokes are the greatest single cause of severe disability in the UK. They're caused by an area of the brain being deprived of its blood supply for so long that the cells become damaged and die. They can affect people of all ages, from all backgrounds, of all talents, and they have been documented since the fifth century BC. In this two part series, poignant personal tales and modern medicine meet literature, as the accounts of stroke patients and those who have cared for them, are interwoven with the words of doctors and therapists seeking to aid the rehabilitation of people following a stroke. 1/2: A Life-Altering Event Each year, 130 000 people in Britain suffer a stroke. But at present, stroke care in Britain has a long way to go. The Royal College of Physicians estimates that over 6000 of those stroke victims are dying, and a similar number left disabled, because they do not have sufficient access to a dedicated stroke unit. Isabel Fraser hears of the confusion, frustration and anger that both patients and their families, and doctors feel at the inadequate provision of stroke services. However, there is also hope for the future - improvements are being made with new research enabling doctors to save lives with better drugs and therapies. Patients and their families also tell Isabel about the aftermath of stroke - what it's like for a stroke survivor and their family when they return home; often a different person. For many, realizing the enormity of what has happened is a huge challenge, and post-stroke DEPRESSION is very common. Isabel meets people who have fought to overcome DEPRESSION after suffering a stroke, and who are leading full lives once more.