A stroke occurs when there is a blood clot or bleeding in a blood vessel, blocking blood flow to the brain. It can affect people of any age and can cause long-term complications. Recovery is possible but depends on the stroke’s severity and a person’s overall health.
According to the
Read on to learn about the long-term effects of stroke and what recovery involves.
There are various long-term physical effects of a stroke. They include the below.
Paralysis refers to the loss of voluntary muscle movement. It usually occurs on the side of the body opposite to the side of the brain that the stroke has damaged. Therefore, a person who has experienced a left hemisphere stroke may have impaired muscle movement on the right side of their body.
Rehabilitation and therapy
In some cases, paralysis can be severe. An example of severe paralysis is locked-in syndrome, a
People with locked-in syndrome are usually aware of what is happening around them but cannot speak, move, or show facial expressions. They can only communicate through eye movements or blinking.
Learn more about brainstem stroke.
Sensory loss is another problem that a person
Those with sensory loss may no longer be sensitive to touch, pain, or temperature. They may also be unable to recognize what object they are holding. Limb numbness is also common.
Another example of sensory disturbance that occurs in people who have had a stroke is reduced bowel control. People may have difficulty controlling bowel movements and reaching the restroom on time.
Some individuals may also receive a diagnosis of chronic pain syndrome, which results from muscle weakness. This is common in people who have not moved their joints for a long time.
According to a 2018 review, persistent headaches can affect
- a preexisting headache disorder
- obstructive sleep apnea
- musculoskeletal imbalances
A 2020 review considers headaches after a stroke to be a type of chronic post-stroke pain.
Emotional disturbances are
People with post-stroke depression may experience:
- suicidal thoughts
- decreased energy
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
According to the
Doctors may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs to treat post-stroke anxiety. However, there is limited research on how a person can manage anxiety after a stroke.
Long-term cognitive effects of a stroke include the below.
It can be difficult for a person to be independent with vascular dementia. However, doctors may suggest the following steps to help manage symptoms:
- taking notes or creating to-do lists
- consulting a speech therapist
- participating in social groups with people who have the same health condition
Aphasia is a language disorder that results from damage to a specific area in the brain that controls language expression, reading, and writing. It can develop after a stroke, head injury, or due to a brain tumor.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders suggests that there are also
The CDC estimates that
The CDC also states that recovery is possible after a stroke, but lingering difficulties, such as paralysis or trouble speaking, may remain.
According to a
Read our tips for recovering communication skills after a stroke.
People who have had a stroke
Some people may also experience mental health conditions after a stroke. A therapist may be able to help a person adjust to the new changes in their life.
People who have had a stroke may find it helpful to join a support group to meet others who have also had a stroke.
Support from a caregiving family member, friend, or healthcare professional may also be beneficial. A caregiver can facilitate communication with the hospital team. They may also arrange for transportation and therapy and help manage medications.
A stroke can cause several long-term problems, such as memory loss, loss of movement, muscle weakness, or speech problems.
People who have had a stroke are also more likely to have another later in life.
Rehabilitation can help people regain their movements and confidence, but their progress may depend on the person and type of stroke.