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Effects of left-sided stroke

  • Some problems that happen after stroke are more common with stroke on one side of the brain than the other. In most people, the left side of the brain controls the ability to speak and understand language. The right side of the brain controls the ability to pay attention, recognize things you see, hear or touch, and be aware of your own body.

    In some left-handed people, language is controlled by the right side of the brain and awareness by the left side of the brain.

    The following information is for the most common situation of language control on the left side of the brain.

    Anomia

    You may not recall the names of everyday objects.

    Aphasia (a-FAY-zha)

    Aphasia is a language problem that affects your ability to:

    • speak
    • read
    • write
    • listen
    • deal with numbers
    • understand speech or written words
    • think of words when talking or writing

    How much trouble you have with aphasia depends on the type and severity of your brain injury.

    Aphasia means you have problems speaking and understanding language. You may be unable to find the words you need or put sentences together. This is like having a word "on the tip of your tongue." Not all strokes cause aphasia.

    To know why a stroke can cause so many different problems, it is helpful to understand how speech works. Communicating a message means you think about what you want to say, put your thoughts into words and say the words aloud. Understanding a message means you know someone wants to say something, you keep the words in mind and put the words together.

    Your brain controls the complex steps needed to speak and understand language. That's why injury to the brain—such as lack of blood flow during a stroke—can get in the way of your ability to do these steps. Different problems result depending on the location and severity of the stroke.

    If you have aphasia, you should have your speech and language checked. A speech-language pathologist (or speech therapist) must see how well you can speak and understand. The exam includes:

    • speaking aloud
    • writing
    • listening comprehension
    • reading comprehension

    You may have problems in some or all four areas. For example, you may have problems reading and writing but not in talking.
    This exam can also show which areas of speech and language have been least affected.

    See how to communicate with someone who has aphasia.

    Apraxia (motor apraxia)

    You may not be able to do purposeful movements even though your muscles and senses are working normally.

    Verbal apraxia (a-PRAX-ee-a)

    Verbal apraxia is a motor speech problem. This means you are not able to coordinate the movement of your mouth to form words or sounds.

    It is not caused by loss of feeling or muscle weakness. You know the right words, but you have problems forming words or putting sounds together.

    You may have problems with word pronunciation:

    • saying words clearly
      You may substitute (or replace) a correct sound with an incorrect sound. For example, a "cup of coffee" may come out as "a puck of pappy" or a "bup of foppe."
    • saying sentences clearly
      You may repeat a single syllable or phrase. For example, "I dunno" may come out as "do-do-do."
  • Source: Allina Health Patient EducationUnderstanding Stroke, fifth edition, neuro-ahc-90662
    Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts
    First published: 02/01/2006
    Last reviewed: 05/01/2018