Can stroke victims remember the experience?

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

Consequences of a stroke

20% of patients die within 4 weeks of a stroke and 37% within one year. About half of the stroke patients who survive remain in need of care or severely disabled due to the permanent damage. In this country, strokes are the single most common cause of need for care.

The effects of a stroke usually lead to profound changes in the patient's life. Unilateral facial paralysis leads to great difficulty speaking, chewing and swallowing. As a result, many patients can no longer eat independently and have to be fed. Speech disorders can affect both speech understanding and speech production. Those affected can often no longer or only very limited verbal communication. Complete paralysis of one half of the body means that patients can only lie in bed or sit in a chair or have to use a wheelchair. Lighter symptoms of paralysis lead to gait disorders in which the patient usually pulls the affected leg in a semicircle. The paralyzed, slightly bent arm does not swing when you walk. If one half of the field of vision remains blind, objects, obstacles or people coming in the opposite direction can no longer be properly perceived on this side.

You may also lose control of your bowel movements and how you empty your bladder. Those affected then have to wear a diaper. When memory is impaired, it is primarily the short-term memory that is affected. On the other hand, patients can often still remember things that happened a long time ago.

The extent and severity of the impairment primarily depend on which brain regions are affected and how severely they have been damaged by the stroke. Most of the patients are physically handicapped to a significant degree from the stroke they have suffered. They are also emotionally insecure and often become depressed. Support from relatives is therefore particularly important for the patient. Especially in the first few days after a stroke, the patient should feel that he is still loved and cared for.

Technical support: Prof. Dr. med. Christian Gerloff, Hamburg (DGN)