Health Wellness Fitness With Stroke and Depression

After suffering a stroke not only does your self esteem take a bashing but also your general health wellness fitness. Unfortunately your family suffers right along with you. They are faced with the process of trying to care for you throughout your rehabilitation. As a stroke survivor you are now confronted with two major challenges, regaining your former physical capabilities, and defeating depression which is likely to follow.

Health wellness fitness research shows that it is likely that 10 to 27 per cent of victims who have survived a stroke will suffer a major depression. Additionally within two months a further 15 to 40% are likely to experience symptoms of the onset of a major depression. Unfortunately it is likely to take up to one year for the depression to be satisfactorily treated.

There seems to be a link directly between the severity of the depression and the amount of functionality that the patient loses. When a lengthy treatment period lies ahead is quite easy to become depressed because there is no guarantee that the victim will completely reclaim their functionality. Depending on the severity and the location of the stroke, behavioural and personality changes may be a possibility. These changes can hinder recovery.

There is a chance that the changes may be put down to being caused by the stroke when in fact the changes are caused by depression which may go unnoticed. Not every stroke survivor takes depression, but there are a large number who do. If you know of, or are caring for someone who has just suffered a stroke, be aware that they may not have been diagnosed with depression, and that the onset of depression may occur, or already have occurred unnoticed. A person recovering from a stroke stands a better chance of a quicker recovery if any depression is treated quickly.

Several different symptoms of depression have been identified in the aftermath of a stroke, and anyone who does experience five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks is advised to seek medical help from their general practitioner as soon as possible.

* An ongoing mood of sadness which may be persistent
* Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or guilt
* Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
* A loss of interest in sex
* less energy, feelings of fatigue and being “slowed down”
* disturbances in sleeping (insomnia, early-morning waking or oversleeping)
* Eating difficulties (loss of appetite, loss or gain of weight)
* Difficulty with concentration, remembering, and making decisions
* Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
* Easily irritated
* Crying excessively
* Consistent Chronic aches or pains that don’t seem to respond to treatment

The Five Basics of Mental Health & Wellness

Whether you’re on top of the world, in a deep, depressive funk, or floating comfortably down the middle of the road; achieving and maintaining mental health and wellness gets down to five basics: A healthful diet, adequate sleep, regular exercise, proper medical care and social-emotional connections. Let’s look at each of these basics in greater detail.

A Healthful Diet

Eating an appropriate amount of the right foods improves brain function and thought processes. Fresh fruits and vegetables-especially those that are deep red and orange and dark, leafy greens-provide abundant vitamins, minerals and fiber that go far to fuel the body and mind. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (including salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, halibut, tofu, Brussels sprouts, green beans, scallops, tuna, cod and strawberries) enhance brain function by improving sleep and concentration, decreasing the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and depression, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of stroke. In addition, drinking eight or more cups of water a day, and the occasional glass of red wine, keeps cells hydrated and contributes antioxidants, respectively. A well-fed body supports an optimally-functioning brain.

Adequate Sleep

Any insomniac will attest to the fact that a lack of sleep contributes to muddled thinking, inefficient decision-making, irritability and depression. When the brain isn’t able to enter REM cycles and the body is unable to release the day’s accumulated tension, mental health and acuity suffers. Human beings are designed to spend approximately one-third of each twenty-four hours asleep. When you consistently get less than that, reserves are depleted and your body and brain functions suffer. On the flip side, if you sleep far more that the requisite eight hours each night, lethargy can take over and it becomes a challenge to get enough of the next basic requirement for maintaining mental health and wellness: exercise.

Regular Exercise

You don’t have to train for a marathon or ride your bike 50 miles a week to get enough exercise. In fact, briskly walking for thirty minutes a day, five days a week is a great goal for most people; and is enough movement to keep muscles toned, weight in check, and the circulatory system functioning well, all of which benefit brain function and mental health. As long as you’re moving your body and increasing blood flow, any activity that you enjoy is a good one. For some this will be yoga, for others, kick-boxing or ballet. The point is, MOVE. Move for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. It’s that simple, and that important.

Proper Medical Care

Annual check-ups and age-appropriate lab work and tests catch health woes before they become full-blown problems. And since all people have unique genetic profiles and predispositions, some must see a doctor regularly for chronic or serious conditions. If this is the case, do it. A diabetic must monitor various aspects of his health, the person with rheumatoid arthritis must see a specialist regularly, and those with disorders of the brain must do the same. Clinical depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia fall into this category and must be treated for optimal health and recovery. Proper medical care keeps each of these people healthy and well, so they can in turn, enjoy the pleasures of daily, community living. And that brings us to the last of the basics: relationships.

Social- Emotional Connections

Relationships, or social-emotional connections, support wellness at every level. People with deep, meaningful relationships, both intimate and friendly, tend to be more physically active. They get out more, participate in a greater number of physically and mentally engaging activities, talk more, listen more, think more, touch more, care more. Their physical needs are more easily met, their emotional needs are addressed, their minds are stimulated, and their spirits are nurtured. The whole person is better off when connected to others in loving and appreciative relationships. When we connect, our brains do too. When we keep the brain engaged, it’s like getting exercise. The old adage, “use it or lose it” is terribly true when it comes to the brain.

With all of this in mind, consider your own situation. Are you doing all that you can to maintain a healthy body and mind? Is your routine contributing to mental health and wellness? Are you eating a healthful diet? Getting adequate sleep? Exercising regularly? Seeking proper medical care? And enjoying healthy relationships? If you can answer “yes” to every question, Bravo! Keep it up. But if you find your routine lacking in one area or another, consider the suggestions above and begin implementing them today. You’ll be happy you did, and healthier too.