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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Effects of Stroke

The specific effects of stroke depend on which part of the brain was attacked, and how severely. This can present some of the greatest challenges for survivors of stroke.

Right Hemisphere Stroke
 

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, as well as analytical tasks and perceptual tasks such as special relations and the ability to see how parts relate to wholes.

People who have strokes in this side of their brains may have trouble judging distances, resulting in falls.

They may be unable to guide their hands to pick up objects or get dressed. They may also experience short-term memory loss, and may experience left-sided neglect, in which they fail to remember or ignore objects or people on their left sides.

Survivors of stroke in this hemisphere may also experience changes in behavior that favor impulsiveness that can be particularly dangerous when paired with other disabilities from stroke—for example, they may try to drive a car, despite having spatial impairment.

Left Hemisphere Stroke
 

In addition to controlling the movement of the right side of the body, the left hemisphere of the brain controls speech and language for the majority of people.

People who have strokes on this side of their brains may develop aphasia (a term used to describe a number of different language disorders and ability to communicate).

There may be difficulty in learning new things, problems in forming mental concepts, and impaired attention span.

Survivors of stroke in this hemisphere of the brain may experience a change in behavior that renders them far more cautious behavior, and may require careful attention to ensure that they heed instructions and carry out assigned tasks.

Cerebellar Stroke
 

A stroke that affects the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls much of our balance, coordination, and reflexes, may cause problems with motor coordination and balance, as well as symptoms such as dizziness, nauseas, and vomiting.

Brain Stem Stroke
 

A stroke in the brain stem can be one of the worst for a survivor, because this part of the brain controls all of the body’s involuntary functions critical to life, such as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, as well as things like eye movements, hearing, speech, and swallowing. A stroke in this region may also cause paralysis in one or both sides of the body.
 

Last UpdateApril 30, 2012
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