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Effects of a Stroke


What are the effects of a stroke?

The effects of a stroke may be different for everyone. They may depend on where the stroke happened in your brain and how much damage occurred there. Some people may make a full recovery. Other people may have long-term effects. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any symptoms you have after a stroke. There are medicines and therapies to help manage the effects of a stroke.

What should family or support persons know about the effects of a stroke?

It is important for family or support persons to know how a stroke has affected your loved one. Know when to call 911, seek immediate care, or call your loved one's healthcare provider.

What speech, language, or memory problems can a stroke cause?

  • Difficulty finding the right words or putting complete sentences together
  • Difficulty putting words together that make sense
  • Difficulty paying attention or a short attention span
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Problems with memory or being disoriented to time, place, or situation
  • Problems thinking clearly or feeling confused
  • Difficulty understanding written or spoken language or learning something new

What muscle and nerve problems can a stroke cause?

A stroke may affect one side of your body or part of one side. You may be at an increased risk for falling if you have difficulty moving your leg muscles. You may have any of the following:

  • Inability to move your arm, leg, or one side of your face (paralysis)
  • Muscle weakness, spasms, or muscles that stay in one position (contracted)
  • Poor balance, difficulty walking, or difficulty grasping objects
  • Changes in your vision or poor vision
  • Ignoring, or being unaware of one side of your body
  • Numbness of your arm, hand, fingers, leg, foot, or toes
  • Pain, tickling, or prickling in weak or paralyzed parts of your body

What bowel and bladder problems can a stroke cause?

  • Loss of control of your urine or bowel movements
  • Feeling like you have to urinate frequently, even when your bladder is not full
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder or constipation

What swallowing and eating problems can a stroke cause?

  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Difficulty feeding yourself
  • A lack of taste or a change in the way you taste things
  • An increased risk for aspiration (food moves into the lungs) and pneumonia due to swallowing problems

What changes in personality or mood can a stroke cause?

  • Depression, sadness, irritability, or hopelessness
  • Anger, frustration, or anxiety
  • Difficulty controlling emotions or expressing inappropriate emotions
  • Quick mood changes

What problems with fatigue can a stroke cause?

  • Low energy levels
  • Tiring easily
  • A lack of motivation

What sleeping problems can a stroke cause?

  • Development of sleep apnea
  • Changes in sleep such as sleeping too much or not enough

Where can I find support and more information?

  • National Stroke Association
    9707 E. Easter Lane
    Centennial , CO 80112
    Phone: 1- 800 - 787-6537
    Web Address:

What problems with sexual function can a stroke cause?

  • Difficulty having or keeping an erection
  • Vaginal dryness
  • A decreased interest in sex

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone else call if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
    FAST Sings of a Stroke

  • You cannot be woken up.
  • You fall and hit your head.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

When should I call my doctor?

  • Your arm or leg is painful, red, or larger than normal.
  • You feel weak, dizzy, or faint.
  • You have a fall without hitting your head.
  • Your blood sugar level or blood pressure is higher or lower than your healthcare provider said it should be.
  • You bleed heavily or cannot stop bleeding from a cut or injury.
  • You have a new, severe headache.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a rash.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You feel extremely sad or anxious.
  • You feel you are unable to cope with your condition.
  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You have open sores.
  • You choke or cough when eating or drinking.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.