Effects of Stroke (Brain Attack)

Effects of Stroke

What are the effects of stroke?

The effects of stroke vary from
person to person. They are based on the type, severity, location, and number of strokes.
The brain is very complex. Each part of the brain has a certain function or ability.
When an area of the brain is damaged from a stroke, the part of the body it controls
lose normal function. This may result in a disability. Large strokes can cause death.
Smaller strokes in certain parts of the brain can also cause death.

The effects of a stroke depend on
where it occurs. The brain has 3 main areas:

  • Cerebrum. This is the name for the right and left sides of the brain. The
    sides are also called hemispheres.

  • Cerebellum. This is the back of the brain.

  • Brainstem. This is the base of the brain.

Illustration of lateral view of brain and divisions into cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem

What effects may happen from a stroke in
the cerebrum?

The cerebrum controls:

  • Movement and feeling
  • Speech
  • Thinking
  • Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Vision
  • Emotions

The cerebrum is divided into the
right and left sides. The sides are called hemispheres. For most feeling and movement,
side of the cerebrum controls the opposite side of the body. For example, the right
of the cerebrum controls some functions on the left side of the body. Depending on
area and side of the cerebrum affected by the stroke, any of these functions may be

  • Movement and feeling

  • Speech and language

  • Chewing and swallowing

  • Vision

  • Cognitive ability, such as
    thinking, reasoning, judgment, and memory

  • Awareness of surroundings

  • Self-care ability

  • Bowel and bladder control

  • Emotional control

  • Sexual ability

In addition to these effects, some
specific changes may occur if certain parts of the cerebrum are damaged.

Effects of a right hemisphere cerebrum

The effects of a right hemisphere stroke may include:

  • Left-sided weakness or
    paralysis and sensory loss

  • Left-sided neglect or lack of
    awareness of the left side

  • Vision problems, including
    loss of the left field of vision in both eyes

  • Problems with depth
    perception or directions, such as up or down and front or back

  • Not able to locate or
    recognize body parts

  • Not able to understand maps
    or find objects, such as clothing or personal items

  • Memory problems

  • Behavior changes, such as
    lack of concern, impulsivity, and inappropriate words or actions

  • Depression

Effects of a left hemisphere cerebrum

The effects of a left hemisphere stroke may include:

  • Right-sided weakness or
    paralysis and sensory loss

  • Problems with speech and
    understanding language (aphasia)

  • Vision problems, including
    the loss of the right field of vision in both eyes

  • Not as able to do math, or to
    organize, reason, or analyze

  • Behavior changes, such as
    being cautious and hesitant

  • Depression
  • Impaired ability to read,
    write, and learn new information

  • Memory problems

What effects may happen from a stroke in
the cerebellum?

The cerebellum is beneath and
behind the cerebrum. It is at the back of the brain. It gets sensory information from
the body through the spinal cord. It helps manage muscle action and control. It controls
fine movement, coordination, and balance.

Strokes are less common in the
cerebellum area. But the effects can be severe. The common effects of strokes in the
cerebellum include:

  • Being unable to walk

  • Trouble with coordination and
    balance (ataxia)

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

What effects may happen from a stroke in
the brainstem?

The brainstem is at the base of the
brain. It is right above the spinal cord. Many of the body’s vital “life-support”
functions are controlled by the brainstem. These include heartbeat, blood pressure,
breathing. It also helps control the main nerves for eye movement, hearing, speech,
chewing, and swallowing. Some common effects of a stroke in the brainstem include:

  • Breathing and heart function

  • Trouble with body temperature

  • Balance and coordination

  • Weakness or paralysis 

  • Trouble chewing, swallowing,
    and speaking

  • Vision changes

  • Coma

  • Death