Impact of Stroke on Brain Function

Stroke and brain function are closely linked. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped or interrupted. This happens because of a ruptured or blocked blood vessel. If brain cells don’t receive the oxygen and other nutrients carried by the blood, they can be damaged and may die, affecting brain function.

Changes after a stroke depend on the area of the brain affected by the stroke. Usually stroke impacts only one side of the brain, which then affects function on the opposite side of the body. This means that if your stroke was on the left side of your brain, you will have problems with the right side of your body.

Where Strokes Occur in the Brain

  • Right-sided – The right side of the brain controls attention span and ability to focus. You may not recognize things you see, hear, or touch, and you may have paralysis on the left side of your body.
  • Left-sided stroke – In most people, the left side of the brain controls the ability to speak and understand language. (In some left-handed people, the right side of the brain controls language and the left side controls awareness.) You may also experience paralysis on the right side of your body.
  • Posterior stroke – This type of stroke affects the back area of your brain, which includes the brain stem (controls breathing, blood pressure, and heart rhythm), the cerebellum (the area responsible for balance and coordination), and the occipital lobes (responsible for vision). You may experience ataxia, double vision, vertigo, and/or problems seeing to the left or right.

How UT Southwestern Can Help

Stroke recovery is different for each person, but rehabilitation can help all or most stroke patients regain some function and/or independence.

UT Southwestern offers patients with brain injuries a dedicated neurorehabilitation unit. Our experts include physiatrists (specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation), physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and other specialists who will help you deal with the effects of your stroke and, when possible, overcome them.

Rehabilitation will start while you’re still in the hospital, but will likely continue on an outpatient basis once you’re discharged.

Request an Appointment

All strokes are medical emergencies. If you or a loved one notices signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately and go to the nearest stroke center in an ambulance.

If you are not experiencing stroke symptoms and want to schedule an appointment with a stroke specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas, or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.