How Do I Take Care Of Myself
If you have a stroke, your healthcare provider will talk with you about a plan for treatment and the timeline for your recovery. They may also prescribe medications, recommend therapy options and more. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about why they recommend these and what they can do for you.
Once you and your provider finalize the treatment plan, its very important that you follow it as closely as possible. Doing that will give you the best chance to maximize how much you recover. Other things you can do include:
What Are The Symptoms Of A Stroke
Different areas of your brain control different abilities, so stroke symptoms depend on the affected area. An example of this is a stroke that affects Brocas area, a part of your brain that controls how you use muscles in your face and mouth to speak. Thats why some people slur their words or have trouble speaking when they have a stroke.
The symptoms of stroke can involve one or more of the following:
- One-sided weakness or paralysis.
- Smoking and other forms of tobacco use .
Who Is At Risk For A Stroke
Certain factors can raise your risk of a stroke. The major risk factors include:
- High blood pressure. This is the primary risk factor for a stroke.
- Heart diseases.Atrial fibrillation and other heart diseases can cause blood clots that lead to stroke.
- Smoking. When you smoke, you damage your blood vessels and raise your blood pressure.
- A personal or family history of stroke or TIA.
- Age. Your risk of stroke increases as you get older.
- Race and ethnicity. African Americans have a higher risk of stroke.
There are also other factors that are linked to a higher risk of stroke, such as:
- Alcohol and illegal drug use
- Not getting enough physical activity
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Symptoms Of A Left Side Stroke Of The Brain
Every stroke is different and will affect people differently based on the severity. The left hemisphere of the brain can cause the following 5 symptoms.
The brain is made up of two hemispheres, the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. Each hemisphere is responsible for controlling different functions in our bodies.
Functions of left side vs right side of the brain:
- The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for: logic, language skills, oral function, sequencing, linear thinking, mathematics, critical thinking, and judgement/reasoning.
- The right hemisphere is responsible for: imagination, art, nonverbal cues, visualization, rhythm, and intuition.
Typically, if someone tends to be more creative and artistic, people often refer to them as right-brained thinkers. If someone is more analytical and mathematical, they are usually referred to as left-brained thinkers. Physically the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.
So the symptoms may differ to the types of the stroke. Check out this post if you want to know more about what are the different types of stroke.
Now that you know what types of strokes are, let’s see what symptoms each stroke has.
Aphasia: Difficulty With Language
Because the language center of the brain resides in the left hemisphere, left-sided stroke survivors may experience language impairments, like aphasia. There are many different types of aphasia and its important to work with a specialist called a speech-language pathologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Not all language impairments fall under aphasia, though. Theres also a side effect called apraxia of speech
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Recovery Option For A Left Hemispheric Stroke
Patients who suffer from left hemisphere stroke typically suffer from physical impairments on the right side of the body along with language-related impairments. Although complete recovery can be quite a miracle, consistent use of rehabilitation methods can aid in restoring bodily functions in less time.
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Treatments To Break Up Or Remove Clots
The two ways of treating clots in the brain are:
Thrombolysis uses a clot-busting medicine to break up clots in the brain. This helps to save more of the brain by allowing blood to return to the brain cells more quickly. Fewer brain cells die, and the impact of the stroke can be reduced.
Thrombolysis needs to be given within four and a half hours of stroke symptoms starting. In some circumstances doctors may decide that it could still be of benefit beyond four and a half hours.
Who can have thrombolysis?
This treatment is only suitable in around 12% of strokes, as there are guidelines for who can and cant have it, to make sure its safe and effective.
To have thrombolysis, the person needs to reach hospital within the time limits for treatment . If they dont know when symptoms began, perhaps because the stroke happened while they were asleep, this may rule out thrombolysis.
Other reasons why thrombolysis cant be given include:
- Your stroke was due to bleeding in the brain, not a clot.
- Your stroke is very mild.
- You have a bleeding disorder.
- You have recently had brain surgery.
- You have had another stroke or head injury within the past three months.
- Your current medication is not compatible with the clot-busting medication .
Time is critical so if it isnt immediately possible to talk to your family, the medical staff will make the decision based on what they feel is in your best interests.
How it works
Risks of thrombolysis
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Emotional And Behavioral Changes After Stroke Affect Survivors And Caregivers Alike
After a stroke, survivors often experience emotional and behavioral changes. The reason is simple. Stroke impacts the brain, andthe brain controls our behavior and emotions. You or your loved one may experience feelings of irritability, forgetfulness, carelessness or confusion. Feelings of anger, anxiety or depression are also common.
The good news is many disabilities resulting from stroke tend to improve over time. Likewise, behavioral and emotional changes also tend to improve. Time is on your side.
Common Symptoms Of A Stroke In The Left Side Of The Brain
Every stroke is different and will affect people differently based on its severity. However, if someone has a left side brain stroke it can cause the following five symptoms:
Weakness or paralysis to the right side of the bodyThe left sided weakness symptoms may occur to the person who has a stroke in the left side of the brain. Weakness is caused by damage to the brain and not damage to the limb itself.
Aphasia Since the left side of the brain controls language many people who have suffered from a left-sided stroke may have difficulties speaking or understanding language, this is called aphasia.
Cognitive impairmentsThe left side of the brain controls critical thinking, judgment, reasoning, and sequencing, therefore, having a stroke on the left side of the brain can cause someone to have varying levels of cognitive impairments.
Visual impairmentsAfter having a stroke on the left side of the brain it is common for someone to suffer from visual impairments in the right eye. It is common for someone to lose half of their visual field in their right eye which is called hemianopia. One may also present with neglect to the right side of the body which is called visuospatial neglect.
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Left Hemisphere Vs Right Hemisphere Stroke
Along with different lobes and structures, the brain is alsodivided into two halves, called hemispheres.
Aside from the different areas of the brain that can beaffected by stroke, its also helpful to look at difference between the twohemispheres.
Generally speaking, the left hemisphere controls languageand logical reasoning while the right hemisphere is believed to control creativityand object recognition. This is why language difficulties after stroke areoften associated with left hemispherestrokes.
Furthermore, each hemisphere controls movement on the opposite side of the body. Usually, a left hemisphere stroke will cause motor impairments on the right side of the body while a right hemisphere stroke will likely impair the left side of the body.
When stroke impacts both hemispheres, its possible tosustain motor impairments on both sides of the body.
How Is A Left Hemispheric Stroke Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms and when they started. He or she will ask if you have any medical conditions. You may need any of the following:
- Blood tests may be used to check how well your blood clots or to check your blood sugar level.
- CT or MRI pictures may show where the stroke happened and any damage to your brain. You may be given contrast liquid to help your skull and brain show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- An arteriography is used to take x-rays of your arteries to look for blood flow blockage.
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Treatment For A Left Hemispheric Stroke
Treatment of strokes is a tricky business and depends upon what kind of stroke an individual has. Following treatments may prove effective in treating left hemisphere strokes:
Thrombolysis is a surgical procedure used to break clots in an artery. It is done using a catheter, which is inserted into the artery with the blood clot. Medicine to break apart the clot is then administered via the catheter. If required, the clot may even be pulled out of the artery through the catheter.
Some patients may need surgical procedures to remove the blood clot or relieve pressure within the brain in serious cases. They may also require surgery to remove plaque build-up in carotid arteries. Depending upon the severity of the stroke and the medical conditions of the patients, surgery may be required to stop the blood flow or remove the blood that has leaked out of the brains blood vessels.
Certain medicines enhance the bloods ability to clot and thus stop bleeding. In contrast, some patients may need medicines to break up blood clots and thin the blood to prevent blood clots from forming. Healthcare providers prescribe medication according to a patients medical conditions.
Your Care In The First 24 Hours After A Stroke
The team on the stroke unit continue to monitor you closely for at least 24 hours to ensure you remain stable. You should have a swallowing test within four hours of being in hospital, to make sure its safe for you to eat and drink, or take medicine by mouth.
You may see some signs of recovery from your stroke early on, but if youre still showing lasting effects after 24 hours, you will have a full assessment with all the professionals on the stroke team. The team can include physiotherapist, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, dietitian, orthoptist and a psychologist.
After 24 hours, you will be supported to get up, or walk around if it is safe for you to do so.
If youre not able to move about very much, the way you are positioned is very important to help you avoid problems with breathing, chest infections , shoulder pain or pressure sores. The members of your stroke team should work with you to find the best position for you to sit or lie down, and help you to move at regular intervals.
As soon as you are well enough, your doctor should talk to you about what may have caused your stroke and things you can do to reduce the risk of it happening again. This could mean taking medication, or making changes to your lifestyle, or both.
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What Are The Symptoms
Stroke symptoms may occur alone or in combination and may last a few minutes or several hours. If you or someone around you notices one or more of these warning signs, seek immediate medical attention. Poor public knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors limits effective stroke intervention and prevention. Even if stroke symptoms disappear, they are a clear warning that a larger stroke may follow.
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding language
- Sudden, severe headache
- Unexplained loss of balance or dizziness
If you notice signs of a stroke, think “FAST” and do the following:
- Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to raise up?
- Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
- Time. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Note the time when symptoms first started.
Transient Ischemic Attacks Sometimes strokes are preceded by mini-strokes, called transient ischemic attacks , which last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. TIAs occur when blood flow to the brain is temporarily interrupted and then restored. The symptoms resolve completely and the person returns to normal. TIAs are an important warning sign. It is possible to have several TIAs before a larger stroke occurs.
Left Brain Vs Right Brain Stroke
In the brain, each area is responsible for specific functions and abilities. So it is not surprising that it is a very complex organ, made up of different lobes and folds. A stroke that occurs in one area of the brain may affect the body differently than one that occurs in another area. The three main components of the brain are the brainstem, cerebellum, and cerebrum. Since the brainstem is responsible for involuntary processes like breathing and heart rate, a stroke in the brainstem is often life-threatening. The cerebellum coordinates voluntary motor movements like coordination, balance, and speech. However, it is not very common for strokes to occur in either the brainstem or cerebellum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is composed of the right and left hemispheres. It is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as interpreting sensory information and speech, along with reasoning, emotions, learning, and fine control of motor movements. Most ischemic strokes affect the cerebrum and can be divided into the categories of left brain stroke and right brain stroke.
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What Effects Can A Stroke Have
The effects of stroke depend on the size and location of the damaged area in your brain. For some people the effects of a stroke may be relatively minor and may not last long, while others may be left with long-term effects or a disability.
- The effects of stroke include:
- Movement and balance problems
- Problems with memory, concentration and thinking .
- Problems with vision.
- Continence problems.
You can read more about all the effects of stroke in our next steps after a stroke webpage.
Stroke can have a powerful emotional effect on you and the people around you. Many people have emotional changes after a stroke, including anxiety and depression. A stroke can change how people see themselves. Stroke usually comes as a big shock, and many people say they have lost some of their confidence.
Help is available with emotional problems, so if you feel low or anxious, or think you may be depressed, visit your GP.
How Are Strokes Treated
Treating a stroke depends on many different factors. The most important factor in determining treatment is what kind of stroke a person has.
- Ischemic: With ischemic strokes, the top priority is restoring circulation to affected brain areas. If this happens fast enough, its sometimes possible to prevent permanent damage or at least limit a strokes severity. Restoring circulation usually involves a certain medication type called thrombolytics, but may also involve a catheterization procedure.
- Hemorrhagic: With hemorrhagic strokes, treatment depends on the location and severity of the bleeding. Reducing blood pressure is often the top priority because this will reduce the amount of bleeding and keep it from getting worse. Another treatment option is to improve clotting so the bleeding will stop. Surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve pressure on your brain from accumulated blood.
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Left Hemisphere Stroke: Side Effects Treatment & Recovery
Andrew Tran PT, DPT, NCS, CSCS Flint Rehab
After a left hemisphere stroke, you can optimize recovery by understanding the unique side effects that may occur. Although every stroke is different, there are known side effects that individuals are more likely to experience after a stroke on the left side of the brain.
Below, you will learn about these side effects along with rehabilitation methods to help you regain lost function. Lets get started.
What Are The Differences Between The Left & Right Side Stroke
When a stroke occurs on the left or right side of the brain, especially if it occurs in the midline cerebral or anterior cerebral artery, the results affect the contralateral side of the body to which side the stroke occurred. For example, if the stroke occurred in the middle cerebral artery on the left side of the brain, most likely the stroke survivor would experience greater involvement of the arm, face, and leg on the right side of the body, opposite of the left side of the brain which was impacted. This is very common to have unilateral following a stroke.
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