The side of your body that is affected by a stroke is dependent on which area of your brain is affected. As well we know, the brain is extremely important for the body. It is a complex organ that control lots of body’s functions. Stroke is a condition when the blood cannot flow to a certain part of the brain. The discontinue blood flow means the discontinue supply of nutrients and oxygen to cells of the brain, and this can affect particular body’s functions, depending on where the location of the brain tissue is affected – as noted before.
Each part of the brain controls particular functions of your body. In general, the brain has 3 major different areas; cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.
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Cerebellum is located in the back of brain stem. It is very crucial to coordinate your balance and movements.
Then for brain stem, it controls lots of the basic functions of your body – these include for controlling eye movements, swallowing, chewing, and even breathing.
And when we are talking about left-brain or right-brain stroke, it is typically referred to cerebrum – this largest part of the brain is divided into two hemispheres ‘left and right hemispheres’. Each hemisphere accommodates the different side of the body.
Generally right hemisphere has function to control the movement on the left side of the body and also receives sensations (input) from the left side of the body.
On the other hand, left hemisphere has function to control the right side of the body. This is the reason of why right-brain stroke typically will lead to left-sided weakness – and conversely for left-brain stroke.
As mentioned before, the answer can vary from patient to patient because it’s closely associated with the area of the brain that is affected.
*Credit to Neuro Texas Institutes for the following image!
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If the damage occurs in the left hemisphere of cerebrum, the following are the major possible consequences that may occur (according to an article published in the official site of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority);
- Memory loss. As well we know, brain is very crucial to store and process all memory that you have. Memory loss can occur in both left- and right-brain stroke.
- Paralysis that affects the right-side of the body, these may include your left arm, left leg, and even numbness on the left face. The paralysis can vary – while some patients are totally not able to move the right-side of their body such as right arm or right leg, others are still able to do it but with very weak movement.
- Problems in speaking and understanding language. People with left-brain damage are more likely to have difficulty in articulation (medically called dysarthria) or/and difficulty with language (aphasia). However, mild communication problem may also occur if you have right-brain damage.
- Patients are more likely to ignore things on their right side.
- Patients tend to have more carefully movements (slow behavior).
Conversely, the right-brain damage typically affects the left side of the body – however some effects that occur in left-brain damage also can occur in right-brain damage.
- Memory loss.
- Paralysis on the left-side of the body. Like in left-brain damage, the paralysis due to right-brain damage also can vary from patient to patient.
- Problems in vision, especially vision problem on the left side. Mild vision problem may also occur in people with left-brain damage.
- Left-side neglect (patients tend to ignore things in their left side).
- Impulsive behavior (moving too quickly).
Yes, it can – if it damages brain stem. But not all cases of stroke that occur in the brain stem affect both sites of the body’s patient – it is dependent on the severity of injury in the brain stem.
Sometime a severe damage of brain stem will probably cause a serious condition called ‘locked-in syndrome’. People with this syndrome can lose control of almost all parts of their body. Many times, they only can move their eyes.
Brain-stem stroke often involves complex symptoms, one of reasons for why it is relatively more difficult to be diagnosed.
For instance, it may cause symptoms such as severe imbalance, dizziness, and vertigo but without followed by a weakness on left or right side of the body (the common symptom of stroke). Furthermore, it may also cause slurred speech, decreased consciousness, and vision problem (double vision).