What is a stroke? It is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to a particular part of the brain is completely blocked or a blood vessel bursts that causes part of the brain to lose its oxygen supply. Without oxygen-rich blood, a region of the brain will die within minutes. When this occurs in the heart, it is called a heart attack. When this happens in the brain, it is called stroke.
Because a stroke occurs in the brain, the entire body can be affected. Memory, speech, emotions, and daily activities can all suffer. Paralysis or paresis (limited range of movement due to weakness) is common.
Depending on the part of the brain that dies, the effects can vary from person to person. The severity of the stroke, the success of the medical care provided, and many other factors will determine the extent of the damage. One of the significant factors is the side of the brain impacted by the stroke.
Paralysis is usually limited to one side of the body. The determining factor is the side of the brain affected by the damage. As far as body movement is concerned, each hemisphere of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Therefore, a stroke on the left side of the brain can lead to paralysis or paresis on the right side of the body, and vice versa.
Besides physical movement, each side of the brain controls various bodily functions. Let’s take a closer look at these to see what other effects may accompany the paralysis, depending on the side of the brain that is affected.
The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. Therefore, you may experience paralysis on your left side if a stroke occurs on the right side of your brain. Here are some other possible outcomes due to this being the side of your brain that controls creativity:
This is just a small sampling of the additional effects that can occur when a stroke impacts the right side of the brain.
The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. Therefore, when the left side of the brain is affected by stroke, you can expect paralysis or paresis on your right side. What else can occur when stroke impacts the logical half of the mind? Here are a few possibilities:
Again, these are just some of the possible effects when a stroke impacts the left side of the brain.
When the stroke occurs on your dominant side, this can also increase the impact of any paralysis. For example, if you are right-handed and you suffer a left side stroke, you may not have the function you once did in your dominant hand. Occupational and physical therapy may be needed to help you regain as much ability as possible in your right hand while also training you to use your left hand for things it never had to do before.
Simple things like eating with a fork, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, or putting on clothes can be surprisingly tricky when you are suddenly trying to use the other hand for the first time in your life. And while therapy may help you to regain some movement on the impacted side of the body, not everyone can make a full physical recovery after a stroke.
While researchers look for better ways to help survivors recover, there are also many benefits to be found from staying positive, remaining social, and remembering or finding your purpose in life. The Thriving With Paralysis website is here to help with motivation content for survivors, spouses, and caregivers alike. Be sure to visit our site regularly for the resources you need.
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