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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Management of Fatigue

Fatigue is a common aftereffect of stroke, affecting anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of stroke survivors. Fatigue can impede recovery from stroke.

Health Issues after Stroke

Your health can be impacted a variety of ways after stroke. These can contribute to fatigue, and include things such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Infections brought on by lack of mobility
  • Muscle weakness and/or paralysis
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence
  • Weight loss from lifestyle changes, lack of appetite, or swallowing disorders

Some medications used to help treat stroke-related health issues may leave you feeling worn out.

Even simple tasks like standing and walking may require much more mental and physical effort, leading to fatigue.

Occupational and physical therapists may be able to help you cope with fatigue by helping you learn to move more efficiently, and giving you exercises to improve your stamina.

Rehabilitation therapy can help you relearn basic skills and increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Over time, if you follow your rehabilitation therapy, your physical and medical condition will improve, making fatigue less of an issue.

What You Can Do

There are steps you can take to cope with fatigue-related issues, including:

  • Asking your doctor or therapists how you can keep or regain your energy
  • Plan rest time: fatigue is a genuine stroke symptom, and you will tire more easily
  • Don’t overdo it
  • Learn what foods, exercises, or lifestyle habits can help you regain strength
  • Be careful to stand up or get out of bed slowly, because you can get dizzy from the sudden change in blood pressure
  • Join a stroke support group
  • Communicate with your caregivers about your levels of fatigue; make sure they understand how you are feeling
  • Get in touch with your local stroke advocacy group
Last UpdateApril 30, 2012