Part Three of Four in the ongoing series
Another common problem that occurs after a stroke is difficulty swallowing which is also known as dysphasia. This may include difficulties swallowing food or liquid, taking medications, swallowing saliva in the mouth, or even difficulties breathing.
Swallowing difficulties are most common right after a stroke occurs and often require rehabilitation to overcome these difficulties and regain as much function as possible.
Difficulty with speech and language
Another common complication experienced by individuals after a stroke is difficulty speaking and using language. The medical term for this is aphasia. This may occur if the stroke occurred in areas of the brain which control the formation of thoughts, the understanding of spoken language, or the muscles in the mouth and throat that help form words when speaking.
These difficulties with speech and language can cause a great deal of frustration, anxiety, and fear for the person who is used to clearly and easily communicating with very little thought or effort.
Family members and friends may also experience frustration, anxiety, and fear when the affected individual is no longer able to communicate with them the way they used to.
Rehabilitation includes speech therapy and physical therapy as an individual may regain all of their speech and communication abilities over time or some residual and/or significant impairments may remain.
Memory loss and difficulty thinking
A person who has suffered a stroke may also have various cognitive problems that interfere with their ability to communicate and process information from their environment.
These cognitive problems may include difficulties with:
- Making decisions
- Social cognition
Many individuals have some memory impairment following a stroke and short-term memory is most commonly affected.
It can also be difficult for people with a stroke to learn new information.
Memory refers to your ability to take in information from your environment, store it, and then retrieve it again in the future when needed.
Memory is a complex brain function that does not involve only one area of the brain. Consequently, the effects of a stroke on memory will depend on which areas of the brain were injured by the stroke and if those areas correspond with memory storage and retrieval.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has identified the following simple techniques to help improve one’s memory after a stroke:
- Repetition and rehearsal