A cortical stroke occurs once the blood supply to the cortex or exterior part of the brain is diminished or blocked which results to brain damage. The cortex is the main processing center of the brain which is responsible for processing sensation, movement and language.
The main risk factors of developing a cortical stroke include smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level. Individuals who experienced a cortical stroke must be well aware of the lasting symptoms and seek help to properly manage them.
A lingering symptom of a cortical stroke might be permanent sensory loss. This occurs since there is damage on a region of the cortex that processes sensory information from other parts of the body.
Additionally, a stroke on one side of the cortex can result to lasting sensory loss on the opposite side of the body. Even though early treatment can minimize the severity of sensory loss, an individual with a stroke can suffer from numbness for the rest of his/her life depending on the extent of the brain damage.
An individual with a cortical stroke might lose his/her ability to walk. This is considered as a lasting complication that usually occurs if a region of the cortex affected by the stroke is responsible for motor or muscle movements that involves the legs.
Additionally, regions of the brain that are responsible for coordination and balance are also involved. During the early period of physical rehabilitation, the individual is taught balance and coordination as well as to regain muscle strength to increase mobility. At certain times, the brain damage is too extensive to allow the individual to fully recover. An assistive walking device or wheelchair can be used to improve the mobility of an individual who suffered from a cortical stroke.
If an individual experienced a cortical stroke, he/she might have lifelong difficulties with communication. Depending on the region of the brain that is affected, the individual can suffer from difficulty understanding, expressing or organizing thoughts and with speech.
Consulting a speech therapist can help the individual better understand information as well as express thoughts over time. In addition, family members and caregivers should understand this limitation and make the necessary adjustments to improve communication.