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Left Hemispheric Stroke

AMBULATORY CARE:

A left hemispheric stroke

happens when blood cannot flow to the left hemisphere (side) of your brain. A stroke caused by a blood clot is called an ischemic stroke. A stroke caused by a burst or torn blood vessel is called a hemorrhagic stroke.


Warning signs of a stroke:

The word F.A.S.T. can help you remember and recognize signs of a stroke:

  • F = Face: One side of the face droops.
  • A = Arms: One arm starts to drop when both arms are raised.
  • S = Speech: Speech is slurred or sounds different than usual.
  • T = Time: A person who is having a stroke needs to be seen immediately. A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment. Some medicines and treatments work best if given within a few hours of a stroke.
  • FAST Sings of a Stroke

Common signs and symptoms:

The left hemisphere of your brain controls the right side of your body. It also controls your speech and language abilities. You may have any of the following:

  • Trouble swallowing, walking, or remembering
  • Paralysis or weakness on the right side of your body
  • Falling toward your right side
  • Lack of awareness of the right side of your body
  • Trouble speaking, reading, writing, or understanding language
  • Changes in mood or the ability to pay attention or learn new information

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • 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 have a seizure.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • Your blood pressure or blood sugar level is higher or lower than you were told it should be.
  • You fall and have heavy or unusual bleeding.

Contact your healthcare provider or neurologist if:

  • You have trouble having a bowel movement or urinating.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

depends on the type of stroke you had. You may need any of the following:

  • Medicines may help improve your blood's ability to clot and stop the bleeding. You may instead need medicine to break up blood clots, or to prevent them from forming. You may also need medicine to treat pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
  • Thrombolysis is a procedure used to break apart clots in an artery. A catheter is guided into the artery until it is near the clot. Medicine is put through the catheter that will help break apart the clot. The clot may be pulled out of the artery during the procedure.
  • Surgery may be used to remove a blood clot or to relieve pressure within your brain. You may also need surgery to remove plaque buildup from your carotid arteries. Surgery may instead be needed to stop the bleeding or remove blood that has leaked out of the blood vessels.

Self-care:

  • Go to rehabilitation (rehab) as directed. Rehab is an important part of treatment. A speech therapist helps you relearn or improve your ability to talk and swallow. You may start slowly and start doing more difficult tasks over time. Physical therapists can help you gain strength and build endurance. Occupational therapists teach you new ways to do daily activities, such as getting dressed. Therapy can help you improve your ability to walk or keep your balance. Your therapy may include tasks or movements you will need to do for everyday activities. An example is being able to raise or lower yourself from a chair.
  • Make your home safe. Remove anything you might trip over. Tape electrical cords down. Keep paths clear throughout your home. Make sure your home is well lit. Put nonslip materials on surfaces that might be slippery. An example is your bathtub or shower floor.
  • Use walking devices as directed. A cane or walker may help you keep your balance as you walk.

What you need to know about depression:

Depression can happen after a stroke. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have depression that continues or is getting worse. Your provider may be able to help treat your depression. Your provider can also recommend support groups for you to join. A support group is a place to talk with others who have had a stroke. It may also help to talk to friends and family members about how you are feeling. Tell your family and friends that if they see signs of depression, to let your healthcare provider know. You may show any of the following signs of depression:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Avoiding social interaction with family or friends
  • A lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low energy levels
  • A change in eating habits or sudden weight gain or loss

Decrease your risk for another stroke:

  • Manage health conditions. Take your medicine as directed. Check your blood pressure and blood sugar levels as directed. Keep a record and bring it to your follow-up visits.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, fish, and lean meats. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Choose foods that are low in salt, unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fat), salt, and sugar. Eat foods that are high in potassium, such as potatoes and bananas. Ask your dietitian what other nutrition guidelines you should follow. He or she can help you choose foods that are right for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him or her to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your risk for a stroke. Alcohol may also increase your blood pressure or thin your blood. Blood thinning can increase your risk for hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs. Smoking and drugs increase your risk for a stroke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can also cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke or use drugs and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

You may need to come in for regular tests of your brain function. You may also need regular blood tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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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