A stroke can result in permanent loss of function. Depending on the area of the brain that has been damaged, each patient will differ in terms of how it affects them in the long run. While some may only experience relatively minor effects, others could be left with long-term problems. Here are five long-term issues stroke patients could encounter.
A stroke can alter your thinking and memory, as well as how you feel, hear, and see the world. This can also impact the way you feel about yourself, your friends, and family members. Memory and thinking skills are otherwise known as cognitive skills. A stroke can impact your ability to plan, learn new skills and problem-solve, and it can also affect your short-term memory. While a stroke can affect your memory, that’s not to say you cannot learn and retain new skills.
Speech and Language
For some patients, a stroke affects the part of the brain that helps with communication, reading, and speaking. Some patients have major difficulty finding the right words to say or naming objects correctly. After a stroke, you may experience issues in related skills like writing, reading, or math. This doesn’t mean you will lose these skills forever. For many patients, undergoing speech and language therapy can help them relearn such skills.
After a stroke, the nerves that control swallowing can be damaged, meaning any foods, drinks and medicine can slide into your lungs, instead of being swallowed naturally. Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties, and they affect over 50% of stroke survivors. There are products you can purchase that assist with swallowing, such as SimplyThick. Some patients may find that their dysphagia is only temporary or that it goes away on its own over time.
Another common long-term effect of a stroke is a personality change. Whether it’s losing interest in hobbies you once loved, social inappropriateness, or feelings of anger and frustration, you must communicate with your loved ones to let them know that these behaviors can arise after a stroke. Although it can be frightening to experience changes in behavior, you need to remember that they can be treated and, in many instances, be overcome in time.
In addition to personality changes, many stroke survivors are at a heightened risk of developing emotional issues, including mood swings and depression. If you’re feeling a sense of guilt, hopelessness, persistent sadness, and decreased energy, these are red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. If you have such symptoms and find they’re getting worse, you must contact your medical practitioner. You may also benefit from counseling services and seeing a physician. While in hospital, you will be examined for your risk of developing depression, meaning you will be provided with the resources and tools you need once you leave.
If you are experiencing any of the side effects listed above, it’s important that you keep in close contact with your doctor. A medical professional can give you advice, support, and treatment which can improve recovery, and help many patients regain a lot of their abilities.
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