What are Common Complications of Stroke?

Physical changes

The above information is for your reference only. It cannot be used in place of a consultation with a medical professional nor as a basis of self-diagnosis or for treatment decision. Only your physician can provide you with accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Cognitive changes

1. Cleveland Clinic. Health Library. Articles. Understanding Stroke. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/understanding-stroke (Accessed Jun 21, 2017).  2. Mayo Clinic. Patient Care and Health Information. Diseases and Conditions. Stroke. Symptoms and causes. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/dxc-20117265 (Accessed Jun 21, 2017).  3. National Stroke Association. We Can Help. Survivors. Stroke Recovery. Post-Stroke Conditions. Physical. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/we-can-help/survivors/stroke-recovery/post-stroke-conditions/physical (Accessed Jun 21, 2017).  4. Stroke Association. What Is Stroke? Common Problems after Stroke. Problems with Movement and Balance. Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-stroke/common-problems-after-stroke/problems-movement-and-balance (Accessed Jun 21, 2017).  5. National Stroke Association. We Can Help. Survivors. Stroke Recovery. Post-Stroke Conditions. Cognition. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/we-can-help/survivors/stroke-recovery/post-stroke-conditions/cognition (Accessed Jun 21, 2017). 6. Stroke Association. What Is Stroke? Common Problems after Stroke. Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-stroke/common-problems-after-stroke (Accessed Jun 21, 2017).   7. Alvarez-Sabín J, Ortega G, Jacas C, et al. Long-term treatment with citicoline may improve poststroke vascular cognitive impairment. Cerebrovasc Dis 2013;35:146-154.  8. Wentzel C, Rockwood K, MacKnight C, et al. Progression of impairment in patients with vascular cognitive impairment without dementia. Neurology 2001; 57: 714-716.

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When a stroke occurs, nerve cells in the brain become injured. As a result, nerve cells cannot communicate with other cells, and control functions including memory, speech and movement are impaired  . Depending on how long the brain goes without blood and which part of the brain is damaged, a stroke can cause temporary or permanent disabilities  . However, the good news is that there are things that can be done to reduce the impact of stroke  .




Many common effects of stroke are physical. People may experience weakness in some of their muscles after a stroke  . These effects can make it harder to move some parts of their bodies. Sometimes it can be severe and stop the patients from being able to move parts of their bodies at all  .



Damage to the brain can cause many cognitive changes, such as memory loss, difficulty with language and problems with other thinking processes, such as reasoning, planning, making judgments and understanding concepts    . At six months after a stroke, up to 74% of patients suffer from some degree of cognitive disturbance  . About half of the stroke patients with cognitive impairment but without dementia will develop dementia in the next 5 years   .