There are many possible effects of a stroke, including paralysis, pain, and problems using or understanding language. A person who has had a stroke may also have incontinence, difficulty swallowing, and numbness. Other possible effects can involve problems with thinking and memory, as well as emotional disturbances (such as clinical depression).
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. There are approximately 4 million Americans living with the effects of stroke. In addition, there are millions of husbands, wives, children, and friends who care for stroke survivors and whose own lives are personally affected.
According to the National Stroke Association:
- 10 percent of stroke survivors recover almost completely
- 25 percent recover with minor stroke effects
- 40 percent experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care
- 10 percent require care in a nursing home or other long-term facility
- 15 percent die shortly after the stroke.
Approximately 14 percent of stroke survivors experience a second stroke in the first year following a stroke.
The types and degrees of disability that follow a stroke will depend upon which area of the brain is damaged. Stroke damage in the brain can affect the entire body, resulting in mild to severe disabilities. Generally, stroke can cause five types of disabilities, which include:
- Paralysis or problems controlling movement
- Sensory disturbances (including pain)
- Problems using or understanding language
- Problems with thinking and memory
- Emotional disturbances.