Skip to main content
Average ER Wait Times

Memorial Hospital Jacksonville

-- mins

Memorial Emergency Center - Atlantic

-- mins

Memorial Emergency Center - Julington Creek

-- mins

Left-side Stroke

Definition

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It is made of a left and a right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is in charge of the functions on the right side of the body. In most people, it is also involved in abilities such as the ability to speak, or use language.

A left-side stroke happens when the blood supply to the left side of the brain is interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, the brain tissue quickly dies.

cerebrum
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

There are 2 main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.

Causes

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of the blood flow, which may be due to:

  • A clot from another part of the body like the heart or neck. The clot breaks off and flows through the blood until it becomes trapped in a blood vessel supplying the brain.
  • A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • A tear in an artery supplying blood to the brain—arterial dissection.

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel. Blood spills out of the broken blood vessel and pools in the brain. This interrupts the flow of blood and causes a build up of pressure on the brain.

Hemorrhagic vs. Ischemic Stroke
factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase your risk of stroke but can not be changed, such as:

  • Race—People of African American, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk.
  • Age: Older than 55 years of age.
  • Family history of stroke.

Other factors that may increase your risk can be changed, such as:

Certain medical condition that can increase your risk of stroke. Management or prevention of these conditions can significantly decrease your risk. Medical conditions include:

Risk factors specific to women include:

Symptoms

Symptoms occur suddenly. Exact symptoms will depend on the part of the brain affected. Rapid treatment is important to decrease the amount of brain damage. Brain tissue without blood flow dies quickly.

Call for emergency medical help right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on the right side of the body
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding—aphasia
  • Sudden trouble seeing the right side of the world from both eyes—homonymous hemianopsia
  • Sudden lightheadedness, trouble walking, loss of balance, or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Longer-lasting effects of the stroke may include problems with:

  • Left-sided weakness and/or sensory problems
  • Speaking and swallowing
  • Vision, like the inability for the brain to take in information from the left visual field
  • Perception and spatial relations
  • Attention span, comprehension, problem solving, judgment
  • Emotions
  • Interactions with other people
  • Activities of daily living, such as going to the bathroom
  • Mental health, such as depression , frustration, impulsivity

Diagnosis

A physical exam will be done to look for muscle weakness, visual and speech problems, and movement difficulty. If possible, you will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may use a or of the brain to confirm a stroke or rule out other conditions.

Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Blood tests can also help determine if there is a bleeding problem.

Treatment

Immediate treatment is needed to:

  • Dissolve or remove a clot causing an ischemic stroke
  • Remove clots from blood vessels using special devices
  • Stop the bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke

Oxygen therapy may be needed.

Medications

For an ischemic stroke, medication may be given to:

  • Dissolve clots and prevent new ones from forming
  • Thin the blood
  • Control blood pressure
  • Treat an irregular heart rate
  • Treat high cholesterol

For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may give medication to:

  • Work against any blood-thinning drugs you may regularly take
  • Prevent seizures
  • Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
  • Control blood pressure

Surgery

For an ischemic stroke, procedures may be done to:

For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may:

  • Remove a piece of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain—craniotomy
  • Place a clip or a tiny coil in an aneurysm to stop it from bleeding

Rehabilitation

A rehabilitation program focuses on:

  • Physical therapy—to regain as much movement as possible
  • Occupational therapy—to assist in everyday tasks and self-care
  • Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges
  • Psychological therapy—to help adjust to life after the stroke

Prevention

Many of the risk factors for stroke can be changed. Lifestyle changes that can help reduce your chance of getting a stroke include:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables , and whole grains . Limit dietary salt and fat .
  • If you smoke , talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Increase your consumption of fish.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. This means 1-2 drinks per day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Check your blood pressure frequently . Follow your doctor's recommendations for keeping it in a safe range.
  • Take aspirin if your doctor says it is safe.
  • Keep chronic medical conditions under control. This includes high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Talk to your doctor about the use of statins. These types of drugs may help prevent certain kinds of strokes in some people.
  • Seek medical care if you have symptoms of a stroke, even if symptoms stop.
  • If you use drugs, talk to your doctor about rehabilitation programs.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2015 -
  • Update Date: 11/18/2015 -
  • American Heart Association

    http://www.heart.org

  • National Stroke Association

    http://www.stroke.org

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

  • Heart and Stroke Foundation

    http://www.heartandstroke.com

  • Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42(1):227-276.

  • Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke/hemorrhagic-stroke. Accessed November 18, 2015.

  • Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/Hemorrhagic-Strokes-Bleeds%5FUCM%5F310940%5FArticle.jsp#.Vk3h%5Fk2FPIU. Updated June 22, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2015.

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115590/Intracerebral-hemorrhage. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Ischemic strokes (clots). American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/IschemicClots/Ischemic-Strokes-Clots%5FUCM%5F310939%5FArticle.jsp#.Vk3ipE2FPIU. Updated August 7, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2015.

  • Long-term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900125/Long-term-management-of-stroke. Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Mena F, Fruns M, Contreras A, Soto F, Mena I. Acute brainstem infarct: multidisciplinary management. Alasbimn Journal website. Available at: http://www.alasbimnjournal.cl/revistas/5/mena5.htm. Accessed November 18, 2015.

  • Neuroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T474350/Neuroimaging-for-acute-stroke. Updated January 6, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Raychev R, Saver JL. Mechanical thrombectomy devices for treatment of stroke. Neurol Clin Practice. 2012;2(3):231-235.

  • Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T143427/Stroke-acute-management. Updated December 28, 2015. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116453/Subarachnoid-hemorrhage. Updated July 11, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • 2/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566761/Prevention-of-stroke: Bushnell C, McCollough LD, Awad IA, et al. Guideline for the prevention of stroke in women. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2014/02/06/01.str.0000442009.06663.48. Accessed November 18, 2015.

  • 6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T580145/Stroke-rehabilitation: Myint PK, Cleark AB, Kwok CS, et al. Bone mineral density and incidence of stroke: European prospective investigation into cancer-Norfolk population-based study, systemic review, and meta-analysis. Stroke. 2014;45(2):373-382.

  • 6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T361037/Risk-factors-for-stroke-or-transient-ischemic-attack: Imfeld P, Bodmer M,Schuerch M, Jick SS, Meier CR. Risk of incident stroke in patients with Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia. Neurology. 2013;81(10):910-919.

  • 8/11/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T184935/Cardiovascular-disease-and-obstructive-sleep-apnea: Molnar MZ, Mucsi I, Novak M, et al. Association of incident obstructive sleep apnoea with outcomes in a large cohort of US veterans. Thorax. 2015;70(9):888-895.