UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Stroke Rehabilitation in Des Moines

The objective of stroke rehabilitation is to restore as much independence to the person that the stroke has affected. We accomplish this through multiple therapeutic approaches that assist the individual and their support persons in working toward their goals. Education and support is also directed toward understanding and coping with emotional reactions and depression, which may result following a stroke.

What is stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, behind diseases of the heart and cancer. 

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.

What are the types of stroke?

Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke).

What are the effects of stroke?

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions.  If a stroke occurs and blood flow can't reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won't work as it should.

What are the warning signs for stroke?

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone you're with seems to be suffering from one or more of the above warning signs, you should:

Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you.

Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's very important to take immediate action. If given within 3 hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.