Vision Changes Post Stroke

Why is balance important?

There are lots of things that you do during the day that you needs good balance.

  • Helps prevent falls or injuries
  • Makes doing our daily tasks possible
  • Builds confidence that you can do those tasks safely and efficiently

Balance can be the foundation of being able to do what we need to do without risking getting hurt.

How Does Balance Work?

How Can Your Balance Be Affected by Stroke?

A stroke can affect all of those components and parts of the body that need to work together to have balance.

Losing balance is so common after a stroke that about 83% of stroke survivors report having experienced balance problems.

It is important to continuously work on improving your balance to prevent falls after your stroke!

Balance post-stroke can be affected by:

Weakness on one side of your body or changes in coordination, flexibility, and strength

Side effects of medications

Loss of sensation

Off-Balance Can Cause a Fear of Falling

Any of those things could be causing you to be off-balance. It’s possible that being off-balance could cause you to develop a fear of falling.

A Fear of Falling

Fear of Falling is a concern about falling so big that it causes you to stop doing activities that you would otherwise do.

It’s important to remember that the fear feeling doesn’t have to be permanent, and a fear of falling can go away by learning how to be safe in your surroundings.

Why Does a Fear of Falling Matter?

This fear could cause you to avoid everyday activities. If you’re less active, you’ll become weaker, which then increases your chances of falling.

  • Less social interaction
  • May cause depression
  • Legs weaken with inactivity
  • Inactivity leads to falls

Falling Cycle

This is a visual of that cycle to show how being afraid of falling can actually increase your chances TO fall. You begin avoiding things you want to do or need to do because of this fear.

Staying inactive instead then causes weaker muscles and follows the pattern back to an increased fall risk, and then repeats itself.

Risk Factors for Falling

There are three types of risk factors for falling:

Physical: Changes in your body that increase your risk for a fall.

Behavioral: Things you do or don’t do that increase your fall risk.

Environmental: Hazards in your home or community.

Physical Risk Factors

  • Weak muscles
  • Lack of motor control and coordination
  • Pain
  • Sensory loss (eyesight, hearing, or changes in perceptual senses)
  • Other conditions

Behavioral Risk Factors

  • History of falls
  • Getting up too quickly
  • Choice of footwear
  • Taking/not taking medications
  • Water and food intake
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of exercise

Environmental Risk Factors

  • Uneven surfaces (slopes, hills. Curbs, stairs, gravel, grass)
  • Weather conditions
  • Obstacles on the floor
  • Distractions
  • Dark lighting

Fall Prevention

Not only is it important to know about the risk factors that might make someone more likely to lose balance and fall, but it’s also important to learn ways to prevent those risk factors from taking effect.

These tips are beneficial to anyone who is working to regain their balance.


Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Falling

  • Exercise
  • Focus on your movements
  • Use your cane or walker
  • Move at a comfortable speed
  • Keep floors clear of obstacles
  • Clean up any spills right away