Where the brain is damaged will determine which abilities are affected by a stroke. Different areas of the brain are responsible for controlling particular functions: such as moving your body, processing sensory messages (such as touch, smell and sight), language skills and thought processing. A different function may be affected depending on which artery, and, hence, which part of the brain, experienced a blood flow issue.
Strokes at the base of the brain, which are relatively rare, can cause serious problems with basic functions such as eating, breathing and moving. A stroke on the right side of the brain tends to cause problems on the left side of the victim’s body, and vice versa.
The severity of complications and each person’s ability to recover their lost abilities varies greatly. The central nervous system is adaptive and is able to recover some functions. It is important to keep practicing skills on an ongoing basis.
Stroke after effects
Problems that people may experience after a stroke include:
- Fatigue – feeling too tired to do things you would normally do.
- Lack of sensation – not properly receiving messages from one or more of your five senses.
- Weakness – often on one side of the body (such as in your arm and/or leg). You might have difficulty balancing, standing, walking, or using your arm or hand.
- Memory and thinking (cognition) – you may have poor attention, forget things, and have trouble planning, organising, and solving everyday problems.
- Controlling – or coordinating movements because of difficulties planning the movement (called apraxia or dyspraxia). You may have difficulty standing or sitting without falling or leaning to the side, or find it difficult to use your arm(s).
- Emotions – inexplicable feelings of anger, frustration, loss or depression.
- Communication – difficulty with language skills, such as talking, comprehending what people are saying, reading or writing. This is called aphasia or dysphasia.
- Slurring – difficulty with talking because the muscles used to speak, such as lips and tongue, are weak (dysarthria). Another cause is difficulty planning lip and tongue movement (verbal dyspraxia).
- Swallowing – weakness in the muscles for swallowing (dysphagia). This can affect eating, drinking and saliva control.
- Ignoring one side (neglect) – lack of awareness of one side of your body or the full environment around you.
- Continence or toileting – difficulty controlling bladder and bowel movement.
- Vision and perception – You may experience double vision after a stroke. Some people have difficulty seeing things on one side of their peripheral vision or calculating how close objects are.