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What Are the Common After Effects of a Stroke?

A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.
A stroke survivor may see objects closer or farther away than they actually are.
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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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The after effects of a stroke depend on its severity, the area of the brain that was damaged, and the type of stroke. Strokes can harm hearing and speech, vision, and the ability to chew and swallow. In addition, a stroke can affect the ability to think clearly or cause the loss of mobility in a body part. Recovering from a stroke can take years, but advancements in medicine have led to more stroke survivors overcoming their disabilities.

While it is not common for a stroke to cause hearing loss, many stroke survivors still have difficulty understanding speech immediately after the attack. It may also be difficult for them to talk if the muscles in the mouth are affected. Their speech is often slightly slurred, and this may require a speech therapist to overcome.

A stroke survivor might see objects closer or farther away than they actually are. Everyday life can be impacted by this in subtle ways; for example, successfully reaching for a coffee mug may take multiple attempts. In addition, the stroke survivor might not see well enough to drive a car.

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If the muscles in the mouth are affected, a stroke survivor will likely experience trouble chewing and swallowing food. It is generally recommended to eat soft food that cannot easily be choked on until regaining strength and sensation in the mouth. The after effects of a stroke are not always immediately apparent, however; a stroke survivor might not be aware of the lack of sensation in some parts of his or her mouth.

Inability to think clearly is also among the most common after effects of a stroke. A stroke survivor might not remember how to do something he or she once did regularly, like make coffee. In some cases, the person knows all the steps required to make coffee but confuses their order. It may be unclear why one needs to fill the pot with water before turning it on. He or she might also forget why a task was started in the first place.

Strokes commonly cause the loss of function of one or more limbs. For example, a stroke survivor may find that moving or feeling his or her left arm is impossible. While it is possible to fully recover, other times little to no function returns to the affected limb. It is recommended to start rehabilitation as soon as possible to lessen the chance that the after effects of a stroke become permanent.

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