The after-effects of a medically-termed 'minor stroke' often result in hidden disabilities that significantly impair a stroke patient's full recovery, according to a research study at the University of Calgary.
The study tracked 48 patients who had experienced minor strokes and their wives for three months after release from hospital.
It found that nearly half of the patients had difficulties recuperating and experienced problems in their employment, social and recreational activities and family interactions.
Researcher Teri Green, a PhD student in the University of Calgary's Faculty of Nursing and a post-doctoral fellow in the Calgary Stroke Program, told CBC News that "minor" strokes are often a misnomer, because there are often hidden disabilities, like fatigue, and the loss of concentration and memory.
She says there needs to be more awareness and education around these after-effects.
Unfortunately, many patients aren't receiving that counselling.
"The problem is we send these patients home from hospital so fast we don't have a chance, and we don't take the time, to give them the information that they need," she said.
Richard Lamoureux and his wife were among the couples in the study. Lamoureux, who is is 41, suffered his first stroke in March of last yearand hasexperienced vision problems and weakness.
His wife, Allison, said they would have had no one to turn to for information if they hadn't been part of the study.
"You don't know what to expect after, you don't know what's normal," she said."You just kind of go day to day."
Astronger support system, Allison said,might have prepared her family for some of the personality changes she witnessed in her husband when he suffered a second stroke a year later.
Although Richard is back at work, he struggles to act like the person he was before.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 40,000 to 50,000 Canadians per year have a stroke. About 60 per cent of those have what is considered a mild stroke with no or minimal residual physical deficits.
Less than one-half of these patients return to their previous employment.