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What are side effects after having a stroke?

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2015-05-11 18:58:09

The physical damage stroke causes to the brain can have a wide

range of effects. These will depend on the type of stroke and its

severity, the part of the brain affected, the extent of brain

damage and how quickly other brain cells take over the function of

the damaged and dead ones. Around a third of strokes are fatal.

Effects may include:

  • Weakness or paralysis, leading to difficulties with walking,

    movement or coordination. This often affects only one side of the

    body, known as hemiparesis or hemiplegia.

  • Lack of feeling or loss of awareness of objects on one side of

    the body, known as left or right-sided neglect, depending on the

    side affected.

  • Swallowing difficulties, which can cause trouble with eating or

    drinking. If this isn't managed, and food or liquid passes into the

    windpipe and lungs, it can result in chest infections such as

    pneumonia. Dehydration or constipation may also result.

  • Speech or language difficulties, including difficulties in

    understanding, speaking (dysphasia, aphasia), reading, writing and

    calculation. Speech and language problems usually indicate damage

    to the left hemisphere of the brain.

  • Problems of perception, including trouble recognising or being

    able to use everyday objects, difficulties telling the time and

    problems interpreting what the eyes see, even when vision isn't


  • Cognitive difficulties, including problems caused by damage to

    areas of the brain controlling mental processes such as thinking

    clearly and logically, learning, paying attention, memory,

    decision-making and forward planning.

  • Behaviour changes, which may include being slower to react than

    before the stroke, excessive caution, disorganisation, difficulties

    adjusting to change and becoming confused or irritated.

  • Difficulties with bowel or bladder control (urinary or faecal

    incontinence). These may be caused by a variety of different

    problems following stroke and can often be considerably improved or

    overcome with medical help and physiotherapy.

  • Fatigue. Although a recognised phenomenon, the reason for

    fatigue isn't fully understood. There may be sleep disturbance

    caused by damage to areas of the brain controlling the body's

    sleep-wake cycle. It could also be linked to depression.

  • Mood changes, including mood swings, irritability and laughing

    or crying, even when you don't feel particularly happy or sad.

    Depression is extremely common, with symptoms such as loss of

    appetite, insomnia, crying, low self-esteem and anxiety.

  • Post-stroke pain. A small number of people develop a burning,

    shooting, throbbing pain that won't respond to painkillers.

  • Epilepsy affects around seven to 20 per cent of people who have

    strokes. This can usually be treated with anti-epileptic


Most people who have strokes don't experience all of them. With

time, patience and specialist help many can be treated, overcome or


Short-term effects disappear with time as any swelling in the

brain goes down and the damaged cells surrounding the dead brain

cells are repaired.

Long-term effects are caused by the death of brain tissue. They

won't go away, but they can often be modified with


Physical effects of a stroke-

If a person who has suffered from a stroke has been affected

physically, they may be partially disabled down one side of their

body or all over. This means that they will need a domestic helper

to help them;

. get dressed,

. get washed,

. other personal care,

. be transported from place to place,

. cook meals,

. do the housework,

.Try to move muscles to stop them from stiffening up

. feed themselves,

. Communicate with other family members and friends,

Depending on the severity of the outcome of the stroke the level

of disability, therefore physical effects vary with each person

Intellectual effects of a stroke-

Again depending on the severity of the stroke on the individual

they can be affected intellectually. If the brain has been damaged

in the intellectual area then the sufferer may not be able to

understand things as well anymore. For a child, this means

suffering in school and not being able to learn new things. Other

intellectual effects of having a stroke are;

.memory ( short term and long term)

. concentration

. ability to use learning equipment such as pens pencils

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