Effects of stroke

Every stroke is different. Each person affected by stroke will have different problems and different needs.

There are several factors that determine the effects of a stroke and that impact recovery. These factors include:

  • type of stroke 
  • location of the blocked or burst artery 
  • which area of the brain is damaged 
  • how much brain tissue is permanently damaged 
  • general health before the stroke
  • level of activity before the stroke.

Each half of the brain is divided into areas called lobes. The different areas control different functions of your body. These functions include how you move your body, receive sensory messages (such as touch, sight or smell), use language and think.

Because different arteries supply different areas of the brain, where the brain is damaged will determine which functions are affected.

The left half of the brain (left hemisphere) controls most functions on the right side of the body, while the right half of the brain (right hemisphere) controls most functions on the left side.

How stroke can affect you

Some of the problems people may have after a stroke include:

  • Weakness on one side of the body, including arms and legs
  • Problems controlling or coordinating movements (also arms and legs)
  • Ignoring one side of your body, which is called neglect
  • Difficulties swallowing food, drink or your own saliva
  • Personality and behaviour changes
  • Having uncontrollable outbursts of emotion without cause, which is called emotional lability
  • Problems with thinking, memory and insight
  • Difficulty receiving messages from your senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and hearing
  • Problems speaking and understanding, or with reading and writing
  • Feeling worried about having sex or having physical changes that make it difficult
  • Vision loss
  • Incontinence
  • Fatigue.

More information

To find out more about these and other effects of stroke, see the Resources on EnableMe.