A right brain stroke can impair several vital functions of the body. In this article, you will get a brief overview about the causes, symptoms and treatment of this type of brain stroke. Read on…
Stroke happens due to sudden disruption of blood flow to a section of the brain. As a result, the cells in that portion of the brain do not get enough oxygen and they die. Even if blood flow stops just for a few seconds, it can cause extensive damage to the brain cells. There are three major components of the brain – the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is divided into two parts, namely right hemisphere and left hemisphere.
Right brain stroke is a condition where the blood flow to the right hemisphere of the cerebrum is interrupted. Blood supply may stop when the blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain gets blocked by blood clots or plaque build up inside the blood vessel. A rupture in the blood vessel in the brain that leaks out blood can also be responsible for this stroke. Here, the blood that flows out from the torn blood vessel causes damage to the brain cells.
A right brain stroke badly affects the functioning of the muscles that are located on the left side of the body. Besides, it affects many of the other vital functions and skills. The identifiable characteristics of the stroke are as follows:
- The right part of the brain helps us to understand the distance, position or size of the objects around us. A stroke patient loses this perception and faces a lot of difficulty in carrying out activities like moving on the stairs, reaching out to objects near them or even putting food in their mouth.
- They cannot maintain their body balance and tend to fall down on their left side.
- The stroke may affect the vision of their left eye partially or completely. If it is partially affected, then the patient complains about blurry vision in left eye. However, if there is complete loss of vision, then they unknowingly neglect anything that is present on their left side.
- Speech problems can be observed in these patients. They produce a robotic sound while speaking and it becomes difficult to understand what they are saying.
- A severe stroke can paralyze the left side all of a sudden. As a result, the patient is unable to move the left hand and left leg.
- Right hemisphere controls the reasoning ability of the brain. After a stroke, the patient loses the ability to solve minor problems on his/her own.
- A right brain stroke may lead to temporary memory loss. The patient may not be able to remember past incidents or recognize a face or a place. Sometimes, they cannot identify letters or numbers and cannot read anything.
A patient with stroke symptoms should be rushed to the hospital within three hours of the brain attack. This reduces the chances of any severe damage to the brain and the patient’s life can be saved. Doctors first conduct physical examination to check the patient’s memory, vision, body movements and alertness. It is followed by a series of tests that include blood test, CT scan, MRI scan and angiogram to check the severity of the stroke. If blood clots have triggered the stroke, then doctors administer clot busting drugs or thrombolytics in an effort to resume blood supply to the affected part of the brain as soon as possible. These medicines break up the clots and thus the blockage in the blood vessel is removed. Thrombolytics are often accompanied by blood thinning medicines like aspirin and antiplatelets to prevent formation of new blood clots.
In case, high blood pressure has caused rupture in the blood vessels, then it has to be lowered immediately with the help of suitable blood pressure medications. Blood cholesterol is reduced with proper medicines. Stroke patients experience severe headache which needs to be controlled with the help of strong dose of painkillers. In some cases, just medicines are not enough for treatment and they have to undergo surgery. Blood leaked out in the brains because of damaged blood vessels is removed by means of surgery. Doctors also recommend a carotid artery surgery if the carotid artery is narrowed down by plaque deposits.
Usually, stroke patients have to continue with medicines and dietary instructions all through their life. Many stroke patients feel depressed because of their physical disabilities and may have to undergo counseling. This is accompanied by a series of therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, swallowing therapy, etc. All these therapies help the patient to overcome the damaging effects of the right brain stroke to a great extent.