When it comes to stroke, physical effects like paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, vision and memory problems, and speech difficulties, depend on stroke severity – how much brain tissue is damaged – and the area of the brain affected. Less is known about long-term, “hidden” psychological problems that can affect stroke survivors, but a study from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio provides some new insights.
This study involved more than 1,000 people who had experienced ischemic stroke – the most common type, which is usually caused by a blood clot. An average of 100 days after study participants had a stroke, the researchers asked them about their physical and psychological health, including feelings of anxiety, fatigue, sleep problems, cognition changes, pain, and overall quality of life.
The stroke survivors scored lower than the general population in all parameters except depression and sleep disorders. In addition, more than 50 percent of stroke survivors reported lower-than-average rates of social satisfaction, which indicates stroke rehabilitation programs should include more social support, according to the researchers.