Health Care

Over half of stroke survivors suffer cognitive impairment

A new American Heart Association report shows that over half of stroke survivors develop cognitive impairment within a year.

CT scan showing brain.
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A new report from the American Heart Association published in the journal "Stroke" says that more than half of stroke survivors develop cognitive impairment within a year. 

Overall, up to 60% of stroke survivors develop cognitive impairment within the first year after having a stroke.  

The peer-reviewed scientific journal published data that shows cognitive impairment is "often under-reported and under-diagnosed." Patients are advised to undergo post-stroke screenings and "comprehensive interdisciplinary care."

While more research is needed to try and determine which stroke survivors are most likely to have cognitive issues, doctors are focusing on management techniques. 

Experts say early screenings are essential to screen for dementia and cognitive decline. Increasing physical activity is also encouraged. 

A stroke survivor's cognitive impairment could change, especially during the first six months after a stroke.

Dr. Nada El Husseini, an associate professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center, said, "Stroke survivors should be systematically evaluated for cognitive impairment so that treatment may begin as soon as possible after signs appear."

"Cognitive impairment after stroke ranges from mild impairment to dementia and may affect many aspects of life, such as remembering, thinking, planning, language and attention, as well as a person's ability to work, drive or live independently," according to Dr. El Husseini.

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