The brain is a complex organ with several different areas. When a stroke damages the right side of the brain, it may cause some unique long-term effects.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It happens when a blocked or ruptured blood vessel limits blood flow, and therefore, oxygen, to part of the brain. This lack of oxygen causes brain cells to die.

The condition can affect different parts of the brain. Since each part controls different aspects of the body’s functions, the symptoms and long-term effects of a stroke can vary according to the location of the affected blood vessel and damaged area in the brain.

The motor and sensory areas of the right side of the brain control these functions in the left side of the body. This means that a person who has a stroke in the right side of the brain will develop symptoms or other effects on the left side of their body.

This article explores symptoms of right side stroke and the possible effects a person will notice. It also looks at the treatments, rehabilitation, and prevention of stroke.

Models of the left and right side of the brain, areas of the brain are labeled with numbers 1Share on Pinterest
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A stroke can cause a variety of symptoms and early warning signs. The severity and range of symptoms a person experiences can vary considerably, but they all share the sudden onset of characteristic symptoms.

Some early signs of stroke include:

In a right side stroke, a person may experience numbness or weakness in their left leg, arm, or left side of their face.

Learn more about the FAST symptoms of a stroke.

A stroke is a medical emergency. People should call 911 immediately if they notice a sudden onset of any of the symptoms above, in themselves or another person. Early treatment can help improve a person’s outcome.

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The right side of the brain controls movement and sensation on the left side of the body. It also helps with vision and other functions.

When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person may experience:

  • paralysis or reduced movement on the left side of the body
  • vision issues
  • memory loss

In addition, someone may have:

  • trouble processing the left side space around them, which could include trouble seeing objects, responding to people on their left, or using the left side of their mouth when eating
  • decreased energy or motivation
  • limited awareness of their body or surrounding space, such as forgetting they cannot move their left leg the same way as before

Learn more about the left and right brain.

Stroke recovery will vary according to the severity of a person’s symptoms. In most cases, it breaks down into three steps or phases:

  • Immediate treatment following a stroke: This involves the emergency care that aims to reduce the impact of the stroke and stop it while it is happening.
  • Rehabilitation: This includes the therapies and treatments that help a person recover as much as possible following a stroke.
  • Prevention: This includes therapies or treatments aimed at reducing someone’s risk factors for another stroke.

The majority of strokes are ischemic strokes, which occur when a blood clot or other substances cause a blockage in a blood vessel to part of the brain. Emergency interventions include working to dissolve or remove the clot to restore blood flow to the brain and prevent further damage.

If a person gets to a hospital within 3 hours of experiencing the first symptoms of ischemic stroke, healthcare professionals may use medications to break up blood clots. These medications may include a tissue plasminogen activator, which improves the chance of fully recovering from a stroke.

If an individual has a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or leaks blood onto the brain, doctors will work to repair the blood vessel and stop the bleeding.

In both cases, quick emergency treatment helps improve a person’s outlook and recovery.


Following emergency treatment for stroke, a person often requires rehabilitation services. Some therapies that may benefit someone following a stroke include:

Individuals may also benefit from joining a support group or speaking with a social worker. Support groups can provide emotional support, while a social worker can help connect a person and their family with various services, including potential financial help.

Rehabilitation time can vary between people, and several factors can affect a person’s outcome, including the:

  • severity of the brain damage
  • age of the individual
  • severity of any other conditions
  • intensity of the rehabilitation program
  • cooperation of friends and family
  • modifications to the home or work environment, such as handrails
  • level of alertness
  • timing of rehabilitation

A person can take steps to help prevent their first or subsequent strokes.

Part of prevention is determining the underlying cause of the first stroke, or risk factors for stroke, and treating those conditions. Some possible underlying conditions include:

In addition to treating underlying conditions, a person may reduce their risk by:

A person can speak with a healthcare professional for further information about their risk of stroke and how to manage any existing health conditions.

A stroke is a medical emergency. A person should call 911 immediately if they think someone is experiencing a stroke. Prompt emergency treatment may improve their overall outcome.

A right side stroke may cause paralysis and issues on the left side of the body. A person may also experience other long-term effects of stroke, such as confusion.

Rehabilitation for stroke may include working with various healthcare professionals, such as speech therapists and physical therapists.

People should speak with a doctor about their individual risk of stroke and how they may reduce it.