Stroke Information

Effects of a Stroke 

Stroke affects the body, mind, and feelings. Here are some of the common effects of a stroke:

  • Weakness or paralysis may affect one whole side of the body or just an arm or leg. If the stroke was on the right side of the brain, the weakness will be on the left. If the stroke was on the left side of the brain, the weakness will be on the right.

  • Balance may be affected. It may be hard to sit, stand or walk, even though muscles are strong.

  • Language skills may be affected. Stroke sufferers may have trouble understanding speech or writing. Or they may have trouble finding the correct words and saying them clearly, even though they know the right words.

  • Neglect can occur. Stroke sufferers often are unaware of or ignore things on the affected side of the body. They may not look to the weaker side, or they may bump into things on that side.

  • Odd sensations such as pain or numbness can occur, which can make it hard to relax and be comfortable.

  • A person’s memory and ability to think, pay attention, and learn new things may be affected. One may get confused easily or not be able to keep track of the date and time. Judgment can also be affected. The stroke sufferer may be more impulsive and not be able to reason as well as before.

  • Sometimes swallowing can be weakened, making it difficult for a person to eat food. Sometimes choking and breathing in food occurs while trying to swallow.

  • Stroke sufferers may lose some bowel or bladder control. Vision may get blurry. Some people may even lose their sight.

  • Personality, emotions, and response to events may change. For instance, a person may find himself feeling sad more often and crying easily.

Selected Stroke Facts

  • Oregon ranks third in the nation in deaths from stroke.
  • Stroke is the third-leading cause of death among Americans and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
  • On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 45 seconds.
  • Someone in the U.S. dies every 3.3 minutes from stroke.
  • Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. About 500,000 of these are first attacks, and 200,000 are recurrent attacks.
  • 10 percent of stroke sufferers recover almost completely.
  • 25 percent of stroke sufferers recover with minor disabilities.
  • 10 percent of stroke sufferers require care in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
  • 15 percent of stroke sufferers die shortly after the stroke.
  • 22 percent of men and 25 percent of women die within a year of their first stroke.
  • 14 percent of people who have a stroke or TIA will have another within a year.
  • About 25 percent of stroke sufferers will have another stroke within five years.