What is a Stroke?

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the blockage of blood flow to the brain or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain.

Each stroke is different. The effects of the stroke depend on where the brain was injured and how much of the brain is damaged.

Locations of stroke

A stroke can happen in different areas of the brain:

  • cerebrum
  • brain stem
  • cerebellum

Stroke in the cerebrum

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It controls your speech, thinking, reasoning, memory, sexual function and your emotions. It also controls the movements in other parts of the body.

The cerebrum is divided into two parts; the right and left side. The effects from your stroke depend on which side of the brain was affected.

Stroke in the brain stem

The brain stem is the area at the very base of the brain, right above the spinal cord.

A stroke in the brain stem can cause:

  • weakness or paralysis in both arms and legs
  • problems breathing
  • heart problems
  • difficulty in controlling your body temperature
  • problems with balance and coordination
  • problems chewing, swallowing and speaking
  • problems seeing

Stroke in the cerebellum

Although strokes in the cerebellum are less common, they can be severe and cause problems with walking, coordination and balance called ataxia as well as problems with dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting.

How well you recover from a stroke depends upon many factors including how much and what parts of your brain were damaged and your health before the stroke.