Many people return to their usual diet after stroke however others may need to modify their diet if they experience short or long-term difficulties with eating or drinking.
After a stroke, there is a greater risk of poor nutrition, poor fluid intake and weight loss.
This is often due to: swallowing problems (called dysphagia) problems with movement (eg using a knife and fork) problems with thinking (eg forgetting to eat) loss of appetite
Who can help?
A Dietitian can assess your diet and provide ways to help you meet your nutritional needs and prevent poor nutrition from slowing down your recovery. Dietitians often work with Speech Pathologists who look at the consistency of foods and fluids that you can swallow safely.
If you have severe swallowing problems you may have to be given nutrition and fluid through a feeding tube especially in the first month after stroke. If you require tube feeding for a longer period of time, your doctor may recommend a PEG tube which is placed directly into your stomach. Your Doctor, Speech Pathologist and Dietitian can provide more information on this.
Dietitians can provide a nutritional assessment and advice to decrease your risk of another stroke. These risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake and diabetes.
While you are recovering in hospital, nursing staff and/or your Dietitian should weigh you weekly and monitor how much you are eating and drinking. If you are at home, you may like to do this yourself.
For more infomation or to find an APD (Accredited Practising Dietitian) go to the Dietitics Association of Australia