After a stroke, complications can arise including paralysis, difficulty talking, memory loss, and changes in blood pressure. These post-stroke complications can impact a person’s daily living and overall quality of life. The type of complications experienced after stroke are determined by the part of the brain affected during the stroke as well as the severity of the attack.
A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function due to a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain. A stroke can be fatal, but when treated early enough, the likelihood of stroke survival is quite high. Unfortunately, because parts of the brain can become damaged as a result, stroke often leads to complications affecting motor and non-motor skills.
Below you will find a list of common complications resulting from a stroke.
Paralysis or loss of muscle movement: Paralysis may occur on one side of the body, or a patient may lose control of certain muscle groups. Physical therapy may help regain some mobility and function.
Difficulty talking or swallowing: If paralysis or loss of muscle control occurs on one side of the face, then talking and swallowing can become challenging. In some cases, patients may have difficulty speaking, understanding speech, putting speech together, or writing. A speech and language therapist can help work with a patient in order to improve these areas.
Memory loss or thinking difficulties: Some stroke patients may experience memory loss whereas others may have difficulties making decision or understanding concepts.
Emotional problems: Some stroke patients may have difficulties controlling their emotions or may become prone to developing depression.
Pain: Pain, numbness, or other sensations may be a result of stroke. Patients may also become more sensitive to temperature changes. This is known as central stroke pain, it develops a few weeks after a stroke and may gradually improve as time goes by.
Changes in behavior and self-care ability: Patients may get socially withdrawn or isolate themselves, in part due to other post-stroke changes, so they may not want to be around others. For example, if they have difficulty speaking they may wish to stay away from socializing.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure can be preceding the stroke. This may be a result of the body trying to boost blood to the brain if blood flow has been lost.
High blood sugar: This is more commonly seen in stroke patients who already have diabetes. High or low blood sugar after stroke can negatively impact recovery and may impede on brain function.
Hydrocephalus: This is a buildup of spinal fluid in the brain. This complication is more common in a hemorrhagic stroke.
Spasms of blood vessels: Also known as vasospasm, which can occur if stroke is caused by a subarachnoid hemorrhage from an aneurysm.
Deep vein thrombosis: This is a blood clot in the leg which travels up to the lungs.
Other stroke complications include seizures, another stroke, and a coma.
Many of these stroke complications can be improved through medical intervention and therapy to regain some of the lost functions. Working with a medical team can help you overcome some of the post-stroke challenges and help you improve the quality of your life after stroke.