CORAL GABLES, Fla. – May is designated National Stroke Awareness Month to not only raise awareness about the risks, signs and symptoms but also highlight new therapies and treatment approaches.
For Lance Tucker, the simple act of using a cell phone became a challenge after he suffered a stroke in late 2019.
“The day that it happened, my wife and I were going to the Social Security administration to sign up for my benefits and literally the first indication that maybe it had happened was I forgot my Social Security number, which I never forget,” he said.
After a month of hospital in-patient rehab, Tucker went to Miami Physical Therapy Associates, where he was introduced to a multi-use device called the VitaGlide.
“This device, we use it from the very early stages of post stroke rehab to the point where it’s wheelchair accessible. We can get their wheelchair right up to the device,” said Carla Ruhl with Miami Physical Therapy Associates.
The VitaGlide can transition from a sitting position to a full upright position to help someone with standing, balance and walking.
“It was nice because I was able to adjust the position of the machine, and the more I used it, the better I got. I liked the capability that with time I was able to stand,” Tucker said.
The ability to build upper body strength from a variety of positions allows patients to live more independently.
“The person can really exercise. It’s great for cardiac function, aerobic conditioning, but also for strength and flexibility,” Ruhl said.
For Tucker, the difference in his mobility has made doing even the simple things major accomplishments.
“Before I couldn’t bend down and pick up anything. Now I can pick things up, you know?” he said.
Anyone can suffer from a stroke at any age, but the majority of these events happen to people over the age of 65.
Risk factors include smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and bad eating habits.