What Are the Treatments for Cerebellar Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the arteries that supply the brain with blood and oxygen become blocked reducing the flow to the brain. A stroke can also be the result of a burst aneurysm. Both can cause brain cells to die and can affect any area of the brain. A cerebellar stroke is one that causes damage to the cerebellum, the base of the brain above the stem, which controls movement and coordination. The treatments for a cerebellar stroke aim to restore as much function as possible.

Physical and occupational therapy will be part of a treatment plan (Image: g-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images)

Aspirin or Injections to Break Up Clots

It is important to seek treatment as soon as the signs or symptoms or a stroke are recognized, claims the Mayo Clinic. If help is received within three hours of the onset of a stroke, aspirin or tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) can be given to help dissolve any clots that are causing the stroke. However, neither can be used for a hemorrhagic stroke as both can make the bleeding worse.

Medications/Surgery

The Mayo Clinic recommends talking to a physician about medications that can help reduce the risk of another stroke. This includes an aspirin regimen, blood-thinning medications and drugs to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. If there is a severe blockage in the arteries that supply the brain, or there is hemorrhaging, there are various surgical techniques to reopen the arteries or stop the bleeding. Depending on the severity of the stroke, surgery may be required immediately or scheduled at a later date.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can teach exercises to improve strength and flexibility. The exact type of exercise done depends on the severity of the stroke, the patient's age and general state of health. For a cerebellar stroke, the American Stroke Association states that it may be necessary to re-learn how to walk, maintain balance and get around in general. Mobility aids such as canes and braces may be introduced to help support balance and a return to an active lifestyle.

Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapist (OT) is specially trained to help patients regain independence after a cerebellar stroke. The National Institutes of Health states that this may include tips for safe bathing, techniques to help with grooming, dressing and eating. If returning to work or hobbies is a possibility, an OT can find assistitive devices to help. This may include voice-activated computer devices to avoid typing, work stations with tools that are easier to hold and manipulate, or adaptive aids that are designed for specific sports.

Prevention

Having one stroke increases the risk of having another, so it is important to take steps to lower the risk as much as possible, states the National Stroke Association. This includes adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as eating healthy, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (if present) under control is also necessary.

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