Is dizziness and falling normal after a stroke?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My wife had a stroke the end of September. Now she has increasing dizziness is this normal after a stroke. She had some dizziness since the stroke but she has been falling a lot. What can I do.

Expert Answer

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

It sounds like her stroke affected the balance centers of the brain - usually in areas called the "cerebellum" and "brainstem". It is not unusual for patients to have problems with falling after such a stroke.

The best treatment for this is to work with a physical therapist. They can train her to improve her balance, and they can also provide her with safety devices to prevent falling. These would include such things as a walker, cane, or even wheelchair, until she has recovered more. They are often very useful at pointing out simple ways of making the living arrangements more safe.

If the stroke occurred in late September, she is only at the very earliest stages of recovery. She will have about 6 months or so to get the most improvement. Take advantage of that time, utilizing up to 3 hours each day in rehabiliation exercises. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of aggressive rehab to maximize improvement after a stroke.