A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. A stroke may be caused by a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or a leaking or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).
A stroke can sometimes cause temporary or permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain lacks blood flow and which part was affected. Complications may include:
Paralysis or loss of muscle movement
You may become paralyzed on one side of your body, or lose control of certain muscles, such as those on one side of your face or one arm.
Difficulty talking or swallowing
A stroke may cause you to have less control over the way the muscles in your mouth and throat move, making it difficult for you to talk clearly, swallow or eat. You also may have difficulty with language (aphasia), including speaking or understanding speech, reading, or writing.
Memory loss or thinking difficulties
Many people who have had strokes experience some memory loss. Others may have difficulty thinking, making judgments, reasoning and understanding concepts.
People who have had strokes may have more difficulty controlling their emotions, or they may develop depression.
People who have had strokes may have pain, numbness or other strange sensations in parts of their bodies affected by stroke. People also may be sensitive to temperature changes, especially extreme cold (central stroke pain or central pain syndrome). This complication generally develops several weeks after a stroke, and it may improve over time.
Changes in behavior and self-care ability
People who have had strokes may become more withdrawn and less social or more impulsive. They may need help with grooming and daily chores.