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Stroke Care Center at the Gates Vascular Institute
How Does Stroke Affect a Person?

The effects of stroke vary widely based on the stroke type, severity and its location in the brain. Normally, nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other to control bodily functions such as memory, speech, sensation and movement. In stroke, these nerve cells are damaged and normal brain functions are impaired.

The brain is divided into two halves (hemispheres): a dominant (left) and non-dominant (right) hemisphere. The dominant hemisphere is very important because it controls language and learned motor functions. Stroke symptoms will vary depending on the side of the brain in which the stroke has occurred. If a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, the left side of the body is affected. If it occurs on the left side of the brain, the right side of the body is affected.

Paralyzed Right Brain

Stroke in the Right Brain

  • May cause left-sided weakness or paralysis.
  • May cause changes in emotions, mood swings or impulsive behavior.
  • May cause poor judgment, short attention span and short-term memory issues.
  • May cause problems performing simple activities, may be seen as uncooperative, confused, overly dependent or unmotivated.
  • May cause speech and communication problems.
  • May cause difficulty making sounds correctly because of weakness or lack of control in the muscles of the mouth and face.
  • May cause problems with thinking skills.
 

 

Paralyzed Left Brain

Stroke in the Left Brain

  • May cause right-sided weakness or paralysis.
  • May cause changes in personality or lead to cautious, compulsive, or disorganized behavior.
  • May slow down ability to act or to answer questions.
  • May cause problems with ability to communicate through speech and language. This is called aphasia.