Stroke • Consequences after apoplexy

After a stroke, the consequences are varied and can affect different parts of the body and functions. Paralysis, swallowing and speech disorders are just a few examples that affect the lives of those affected.

The human brain is divided into individual regions that control different processes in the body. One area is responsible for language production and another for language comprehension. After a stroke (apoplexy), the consequences depend on the region in which the circulatory disorder has occurred and the size of the affected brain area. Therefore, possible consequences after a stroke can be very different.

Article content at a glance:

Stroke: recognize precursors and acute symptoms

Paralysis after stroke: consequence of apoplexy

One of the most common consequences of a stroke is paralysis of one half of the body (hemiplegia). The movement of one half of the body is controlled by one half of the brain. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.

Depending on the number of brain cells affected, the paralysis affects the entire half of the body or just one area, such as the hand. The degree of paralysis also varies, ranging from slight numbness or weakness to complete inability to move. The facial nerve, the facial nerve, is affected relatively frequently. One then speaks of a central facial paralysis. The result is the crookedness of the facial muscles.

Depending on the severity, the paralysis is called differently:

  • Monoplegie: Complete paralysis of a limb, such as the hand

  • Paraplegia: Complete paralysis of both legs or arms

  • Hemiplegia: paralysis of one side of the body

  • Hemiparese: Mild or incomplete hemiplegia

  • Tetraplegie: Complete paralysis of all four limbs

limitations in mobility

After a stroke, apraxia is one of the serious consequences that describe a disruption in the execution of voluntary, purposeful and orderly movements. The patient is unable, or only with great effort, to carry out complicated movement sequences. For example, putting on a sweater or making a sandwich can cause problems. The mobility of the arms or legs is not impaired. Rather, apraxia loses the ability to design the necessary movements in the brain and to combine individual movements into a smooth process.

visual disturbances after a stroke

As a result of the stroke, those affected often report visual disturbances. Its expression depends very much on the brain area in which the apoplexy occurred:

  • Restricted field of vision/visual field: The affected person overlooks people or objects

  • Tunnel vision: Darkened peripheral zones, i.e. if the patient is looking through a tube

  • Double vision: Patient sees objects overlapping

  • Temporary blindness in one eye

Speech disorders are often the result of a stroke

The language center is usually on the left side of the brain for right-handers and on the right side for left-handers. If the speech center is affected, so-called aphasia can develop as a result of the stroke, i.e. speech loss or speech disorder. Depending on the extent of the brain damage, language comprehension and language production can be affected. Slight word-finding difficulties up to complete loss of speech are possible. Speech can be retrained with the support of a speech therapist.

Dysphagia due to apoplexy

The process of swallowing can be disturbed after a stroke. Consequences of dysphagia can be occasional choking, but also an inability to eat. There is a risk of pneumonia from swallowing and accidentally inhaling food. It is a common cause of increased mortality in stroke patients. Those affected with swallowing disorders must therefore be fed artificially via a tube and regain the sensitivity of the oral cavity through swallowing and chewing training.

disorders of cognition and memory

Human cognitive abilities include, for example, attention, memory, learning, creativity, planning and orientation. After a stroke, these skills may be impaired. Some patients have difficulty concentrating afterwards or finding their way around at home or in unfamiliar surroundings without help.

Many patients suffer from memory disorders after a stroke: For example, they can no longer remember events before the illness or knowledge that they acquired before the apoplexy. Others have trouble remembering things after the stroke.

Depression: Psychological consequences of stroke

About 30 percent of patients suffer from depression after a stroke (post-stroke depression). More frequently affected are people with a severe stroke compared to patients who have suffered a mild apoplexy. There are two causes behind the depression caused by the stroke:

  • The brain was injured as a result of the stroke, which can have an impact on emotional life.

  • Emotional reaction to the illness or the subsequent (physical) limitations, especially if they are accompanied by a loss of independence.

The extent to which depression manifests itself depends heavily on the mental and physical consequences of the stroke. For some people, depression goes away on its own, but in most cases, therapeutic help is needed.

Stroke impairs sentience

Sensitivity limitations are further consequences after a stroke. These can manifest themselves in the form of tingling and numbness, but also the loss of the skin’s sensitivity to heat or cold. There may be feelings of heaviness or the feeling that a part of the body no longer belongs.

Reduce spasticity after apoplexy with physiotherapy

After a stroke, the basic tension of the muscle can be disturbed as a result. Due to increased tension in the muscles, they can no longer be moved and pain occurs. In this case one speaks of spasticity or spasticity. The spasticity after a stroke usually only occurs in the weeks after the actual event. Physical therapy is critical to reducing post-stroke spasticity and preventing stiff joints from forming.

Improve prognosis with treatment

There is a possibility that physical and mental consequences will spontaneously improve or disappear after the apoplexy. The likelihood of this happening is highest in the first few months after the stroke, but decreases over time. Cognitive abilities in particular can improve on their own. If this is not the case, numerous therapeutic measures are available today as part of rehabilitation. Physical consequences are treated, for example, with physiotherapy and movement therapy, and language disorders with speech therapy.

Restrictions in memory and other cognitive abilities can be specifically promoted, for example, through mental strategies, learning exercises or journaling.

This is how you reduce your risk of stroke

Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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