A mild stroke can cause little or no brain damage. However, a major stroke can cause severe brain damage and even death.
A stroke can occur in different parts of the brain. The effects of a stroke vary depending on where in the brain a stroke occurs.
A stroke occurring in the right half of the brain (the right hemisphere) can cause:
- Problems judging distances
- Impaired judgment and behavior
- Short-term memory loss
A stroke occurring in the left half of the brain (the left hemisphere) can cause:
- Speech and language problems
- Slow and cautious behavior
- Memory challenges
A stroke in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination, can cause:
- Abnormal reflexes of the head and upper body
- Balance challenges
- Dizziness, nausea, vomiting
A stroke in the brain stem can affect:
- Eye movements
Strokes in the brain stem are critical because the brain stem controls all body functions. Patients with a brain stem stroke may also develop paralysis, or not be able to move or feel on one or both sides of the body.
In many cases, a stroke can weaken the muscles, making it challenging to walk, eat or dress without the aid of someone else. However, some symptoms may improve with time and rehabilitation or therapy.