Stroke can be confusing. Look at it this way, when you have a heart attack, heart muscle is damaged because it's deprived of oxygen. It's the same thing for your brain during a stroke. Knowing if you are at increased risk for stroke can save you from a long and hard recovery. We introduce you to a retired Sioux Falls man who is in the midst of that recovery.
Little my little, Roger Kuyper is working his way back to full mobility after a stroke in late February left him weak on the right side.
Roger says, "This bike is real good. It gives my leg the incentive to get up in the air."
Physical Therapist Stephanie Myers with Avera McKennan says this new high tech FES or Functional Electrical Stimulation bike was intended for spinal chord injury patients, but they are finding a lot of success with stroke patients too.
Stephanie says, "Since Roger had a stroke we can stimulate 5 muscle groups at a time and with that bicycle he is getting range of motion, plus strengthening and it helps improve his balance and over all ability to walk and function in his daily life. This stimulates the nerve to send a message back to the brain after the brain was damaged. The brain is neuroplastic which means other areas of brain can take over to learn what it needs to do to get the leg to move."
Roger says, "It's difficult, but it's coming along."
Besides working on the bike here 3 times a week with Stephanie, at home he and his wife Carole work on facial exercises to get his smile even.
Dr. Jason Knutson with McGreevy Clinic Avera says, "You can recover from stroke for the rest of your life. The important thing to remember is to seek medical attention as soon as you can. You may be a candidate for TPA: a clot buster in the brain."
Roger says, "Thinking back I probably had symptoms the day before."
Stroke is a devastating illness and recovery is hard work. Luckily, Roger isn't the kind of guy to just sit around. So if he has to sit, he's glad this bike is helping his brain re-learn to move.
To find out if you are at increased risk: take the Stroke Health Risk Assessment on Avera's website.