Can Stroke Patients Fly? 3 Questions About Life After Stroke

Hav­ing a stroke is one of the most life-chang­ing med­ical events you can expe­ri­ence. Because of the changes that occur both phys­i­cal­ly and cog­ni­tive­ly, life after a stroke can be overwhelming. 

The weeks and months fol­low­ing a stroke are impor­tant in allow­ing your body to recov­er. In those first few weeks, months, and even the full year fol­low­ing a stroke, you have the high­est risk of hav­ing anoth­er one. 

Even though stroke reha­bil­i­ta­tion can help you build back your strength and your con­fi­dence, some activ­i­ties may look dif­fer­ent or be tem­porar­i­ly off-lim­its. Here are 3 com­mon ques­tions about life after stroke and the impor­tance of tak­ing care of your­self as you heal. 

1. Can Stroke Patients Fly? 

After a stroke, you may find your­self need­ing to trav­el by plane, which can be stress­ful for any­one. Air trav­el involves a lot of walk­ing, mov­ing from loca­tion to loca­tion, and being away from the com­fort of your home. It also means putting dis­tance between you and your health­care provider. 

While there’s no exact time peri­od in which you should avoid trav­el­ing in an air­plane after a stroke, you might need to wait before board­ing your next flight. Talk to your health­care provider, who can advise when air trav­el will be safest for you and what steps will make the process eas­i­er on your body. 

You may also need to plan ahead to keep track of any med­ica­tion you’re tak­ing. Be sure to keep med­ica­tions with you in your car­ry-on and bring enough for your entire trip. 

On a long flight, you may be inac­tive for a long time, putting you at risk of a blood clot in a vein called deep vein throm­bo­sis (DVT). To reduce risks relat­ed to DVT, stay hydrat­ed and move around the cab­in from time to time. You may also ben­e­fit from com­pres­sion stock­ings, but you should talk to your health­care provider before wear­ing them. For some peo­ple, they may reduce blood flow too much and cause oth­er problems. 

Do you have ques­tions about stroke recov­ery? Talk to a Duly Neu­rol­o­gist, who will help you under­stand how to safe­ly and effec­tive­ly heal after a stroke. 

2. Can Stroke Patients Drive? 

Dri­ving offers a sense of free­dom that can feel lim­it­ed after a stroke. It allows you to rely less on oth­ers and go about your day as you please. How­ev­er, there are safe­ty con­cerns to con­sid­er when dri­ving after a stroke. 

After a stroke, you may experience: 

  • Weak­ness or paral­y­sis on one side of the body 
  • Trou­ble think­ing, speak­ing, or see­ing clearly 
  • Dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling your body 
  • For­get­ful­ness and irritability 
  • Med­ica­tion-relat­ed side effects, such as drowsiness 

Still, with the green light from your health­care provider, you may be able to resume dri­ving safe­ly. They might require a wait­ing peri­od or sug­gest cer­tain mod­i­fi­ca­tions to your car. To ensure you’re fit for the road, con­sid­er tak­ing a dri­ving test with a dri­ver reha­bil­i­ta­tion spe­cial­ist or enrolling in a driver’s train­ing program. 

If you’re per­ma­nent­ly unable to dri­ve due to safe­ty con­cerns, remem­ber that there are plen­ty of options to get around, includ­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion (which may be free if you qual­i­fy), com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions that offer low-cost or free trans­porta­tion, and your own sup­port sys­tem of loved ones. 

3. Can Stroke Patients Exercise? 

Phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is one of the best ways to sup­port your body as it regains strength after a stroke. It helps you: 

  • Improve your bal­ance, mobil­i­ty, and abil­i­ty to walk 
  • Improve your mood and reduce depression 
  • Low­er your risk of anoth­er stroke 
  • Low­er your risk of heart-relat­ed con­cerns, such as high blood pres­sure and obesity 

Before start­ing any exer­cise, check with your health­care provider, who will tell you when it’s safe to begin phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. You can also enroll in a stroke reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram to ensure you’re pro­tect­ing your body and increas­ing phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in an appro­pri­ate way. 

When it’s time to start exer­cis­ing, start small – then grad­u­al­ly increase time and inten­si­ty as you build strength. You may also want to break up exer­cise into small­er incre­ments, such as three-minute intervals. 

After a stroke, you’ll ben­e­fit from: 

  • Stretch­ing and flex­i­bil­i­ty exer­cise, such as yoga and tai chi 
  • Aer­o­bic exer­cise, such as brisk walk­ing or water aerobics 
  • Bal­ance exer­cise, includ­ing strength­en­ing your core muscles 
  • Strength-train­ing exer­cise, includ­ing with weights and resis­tance bands 

The Impor­tance of Stroke Aftercare 

A stroke takes a major toll on your body and mind. It affects a range of nec­es­sary func­tions, includ­ing strength, fine motor skills (small move­ments with the hands and feet), gross motor skills (large move­ments with the arms, legs, and tor­so), vision, speech, lan­guage, cog­ni­tion, and emotions. 

The first few months after a stroke are crit­i­cal. Phys­i­cal­ly, you’ll need to regain strength and endurance to avoid injury and get back to your rou­tine as safe­ly as pos­si­ble. Men­tal­ly, you’ll need to reform con­nec­tions in your brain that help it do its job. 

With the right sup­port – includ­ing reg­u­lar appoint­ments with your health­care provider and a stroke reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram – you’ll give your­self the best chance of a full recov­ery. At Duly Health and Care, your care team may con­sist of physi­cians, neu­rol­o­gists, phys­i­cal and occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pists, nutri­tion­ists, social work­ers, and oth­er experts of stroke after­care. At home, lean on your fam­i­ly and friends, who can help you with day-to-day needs. 

Life after a stroke may be dif­fer­ent, espe­cial­ly at first. But with the right after­care and ded­i­ca­tion to recov­ery, you can get back to your nor­mal rou­tine as much as possible. 

Health Topics:

  • We all come from different walks of life, with experiences and stories that make us all unique. I am lucky that I work in a field that allows to me to be able to spend time with each one of my patients, allowing me to listen to their stories in order to gain a greater understanding of their condition so that I am able to provide the help and support they need to recover.