Stroke usually affects one side of the brain. Movement and sensation for one side of the body is controlled by the opposite side of the brain.
This means that if your stroke affected the left side of your brain, you will have problems with the right side of your body. If your stroke affected the right side of your brain, you will have problems with the left side of your body.
Changes that may happen after a stroke on either side of the brain include the following.
This is a nerve problem that can make your movements slow and jerky. There are different stages of muscle tone recovery.
You may have problems urinating or controlling your urine (
incontinence). You might also have a
Constipation is the most common problem after a stroke. This may be caused by lack of liquids or limited physical activity. Your doctor or nurse can help you regain your regular bowel pattern.
You may have problems with memory, thinking, attention or learning. For example, you may have trouble:
You may have reduced hand-eye coordination. When reaching for an object, your arm may waver or your hand may overshoot the object.
Dysarthria 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 caused by weakness, lack of coordination, or loss of feeling in your lips, tongue and mouth muscles. You know the right words, but you have problems saying them. Dysarthria may affect your:
Call your health care provider if you have any of these signs:
Dysphagia is a swallowing problem usually caused by weakness or loss of feeling in your tongue, lips, throat or palate (roof of the mouth).
It may cause problems with:
If you have swallowing problems, you may need to have a
video swallow study.
A member of your health care team will recommend the correct diet for you. He or she may recommend some ways to help your swallowing. These include:
If you cannot eat or drink by mouth, you will need to get your nutrients by a tube. This will keep food and liquids from getting into your lungs.
The dietitian will suggest which tube feeding product will fit your schedule. Members of your health care team will closely watch your tube feeding for any problems or adjustments.
Your ability to swallow may return during recovery.
You will receive updates on your progress.
To reduce your risk of choking during your recovery:
Please see the section on
You may find you are unable to do a task or activity for a long period of time. This should get better as you get stronger.
Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness that can keep you from doing the things you normally do or want to do. It is common to feel tired more quickly after a brain injury. You may need more sleep or rest.
Fatigue may cause you to:
You may also have more trouble with coordination, vision, speech, movement, controlling your emotions or other problems when you are tired.
You may have weakness, partial or complete paralysis of one side of your body or just one arm or one leg.
You may act without planning ahead.
You may not know your own limits. You may act without thinking about the consequences of your actions. You may misinterpret situations. You may be unable to judge, problem-solve, organize, use "abstract" reasoning skills or all of these.
You may have poor memory. This may lead to problems retaining, blending and recalling information.
You may have numbness or loss of feeling in different parts of your body. This may cause you to have trouble knowing where you place or how you position a part of your body (such as your hand or foot).
It is rare that a medical concern would keep you from sexual activity. Fear may keep you from being intimate with your partner. You may feel anxiety about:
Talk with your partner about how you feel. Talk about how the two of you can become close and tender again. Talk with your doctor if you are having intimacy concerns.
You may ignore or not be able to see anything toward your right. You may only eat from the left side of your plate or read from the left side of a page.
Allina Health Patient Education, Understanding Stroke: Information about Stroke and Recovery, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-13-4
Allina Health Patient Education experts