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In general, a stroke on one side of the brain can cause weakness on the opposite side of the body. With right side stroke, the left side of the body can develop weakness. With right brain stroke, a patient can lose the ability to handle spatial awareness, consideration of music and art, imagination, thinking, and more. Each patient is different so I take an individualized approach in stroke diagnosis, treatment, management, and rehabilitation.

Dr. Manish Taneja

Stroke Specialist, Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Introduction to Stroke

Strokes are life-altering events for many who must recover and regain lost function or learn new ways to do things. A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke event takes place when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. This disruption deprives brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. Among the different types of stroke, a right-side stroke affects what we know as specific brain functions associated with the right hemisphere.

The Rotterdam Study found that left side strokes may be recognized more often than right, but this may be because of the ability to see the lesions on an MRI. Right side strokes may be as common as left side stroke but are most challenging to identify on imaging.

While a stroke can be life-altering, there are follow-up treatments that can prevent future events and help preserve function.

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Understanding Right Brain Stroke

Right-Side of the Brain: Functions and Impacts

The right side of the brain controls various essential functions, including spatial awareness, perception, attention, and emotion regulation. When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, it can lead to significant impairments in these areas. Depending on the severity and location of the stroke, individuals may experience difficulties with perception, judgment, and emotional processing.

 

What Does It Control?

 The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for:

  • Spatial awareness (sense of position in the space) and perception
  • Visual processing
  • Emotional regulation
  • Recognition of faces and emotions
  • Attention and awareness
  • Intuition 
  • Imagination
  • Holistic thinking
  • Music and art consideration

 

What Damage Can a Right Brain Stroke Cause?

Damage resulting from a right-side stroke can affect the following:

  • Visual perception and spatial awareness
  • Emotional processing and regulation
  • Attention and awareness of the affected side of the body
  • Recognition of faces and emotions
  • Judgment and decision-making abilities

    Signs of Right Brain Stroke

    Identifying the signs of a right-side stroke is crucial for prompt medical intervention. Right-side stroke deficits can be subtle or extreme. Common symptoms may include:

    • Sudden weakness or numbness on the left side of the body
    • Difficulty with spatial awareness and perception
    • Visual disturbances or changes in vision
    • Impaired judgment and decision-making
    • Changes in emotional expression or behavior such as sudden emotional outburst
    • Facial weakness

     

    Side Effects of Right Brain Stroke

    Right-side stroke effects can vary, depending on the extent of the damage. Some common side symptoms include:

    • Weakness or inability to move some parts of the left side of the body (hemiparesis)
    • Spatial neglect or unawareness of the left side of the body or environment
    • Difficulty with visual perception (homonymous hemianopia) and spatial awareness
    • Impaired facial recognition (prosopagnosia) and emotional processing
    • Changes in personality and behavior such as outburst of laughing or crying (pseudobulbar effect)
    • There are those unaware of their disability. This neurological condition is called anosognosia and is associated with mental illness, dementia, and structural brain lesion seen in the case of right hemisphere stroke patients.

    Right Side Stroke Personality and Emotional Changes 

    Some people experience profound mental changes due to a stroke. One of the distinctive features of right-side stroke is its impact on emotion and personality. Individuals may experience emotional lability, mood swings, and difficulty regulating their emotions. Some changes in personality traits, such as impulsivity, apathy, or indifference, may occur following a right-side stroke.

    Emotional changes and personality alterations following a stroke can significantly impact an individual’s well-being and quality of life. Addressing these changes requires a comprehensive approach, including medical interventions, rehabilitation, and psychological support. Right-side stroke recovery will include addressing the physical and mental changes a person experiences. 

    Right-side stroke personality changes can be disturbing for some loved ones. Family members may need to participate in some of these activities and be supportive. They also may need therapy to cope with the dramatic changes in their life and the lives of their loved ones. 

    The American Stroke Association says that a stroke can cause biochemical changes in the brain and can cause mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. 

    Diagnosis of Right Side Stroke

    Diagnosing a right-side stroke involves a thorough evaluation. Right-side stroke causes can vary, so evaluation is necessary. This workup usually combines a medical history evaluation, physical examination, and imaging tests. These images are generally sought using CT or MRI scans

    One of the primary advantages of CT imaging in stroke evaluation is its ability to rapidly detect hemorrhagic strokes, which result from bleeding within the brain. CT scans can identify areas of hyperdensity (bright areas) corresponding to blood accumulation, such as intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage. These images are crucial for determining the appropriate management approach, as hemorrhagic strokes require different treatments than ischemic strokes.

    In the case of an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel is blocked, an MRI can detect areas of reduced blood flow or ischemia. These areas typically appear as dark regions on specific MRI sequences, indicating tissue damage caused by a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

    MRI imaging provides detailed information about the size, location, and extent of the stroke lesion within the brain. This information is crucial for determining the severity of the stroke and guiding right-side stroke treatment decisions.

    Healthcare professionals will assess the severity of right-side stroke symptoms and determine the extent of brain damage to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

    Right Side Stroke Treatment Options and Management

    Treatment for right-side stroke focuses on restoring blood flow. Doctors want to get blood to the affected brain area, preventing further damage and addressing associated symptoms. Depending on the individual’s condition, treatment options may include:

    • Intravenous thrombolysis is a medical procedure where clot-dissolving medication is administered through a vein to break up blood clots and restore blood flow.
    • Mechanical thrombectomy is a medical procedure to remove blood clots.
    • Rehabilitation therapy, which may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and includes right-side stroke recovery exercises to help with mobility.
    • Medications to manage symptoms such as pain, depression, or spasticity

    The long-term effects of stroke on the brain can vary and may be worse when rehabilitative treatment is delayed. A right-sided stroke can lead to long-term effects such as spatial awareness deficits, visual neglect, attention difficulties, emotional changes, subtle language impairments, memory issues, and executive function deficits. People can need help with language comprehension, memory retrieval, and problem-solving. 

    Rehabilitation therapies like physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy can help manage and improve these functions post-stroke.

     

    Right Side Stroke Prevention

    Preventing a right-side stroke involves addressing modifiable risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Key prevention strategies include:

      World-Class Stroke Treatment and Care in Singapore

      If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a right-side stroke, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. Once a person is stable, it is time for the recovery phase. We offer world-class stroke treatment and care in Singapore at our specialized stroke clinic with our stroke specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja. He can devise a personalized plan to improve your quality of life and mitigate future stroke risks.

      Remember, early intervention is critical to minimizing the impact of stroke and maximizing recovery. Don’t delay — take action today to protect your brain health and well-being. The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help you get back to living your best life. Get in touch to speak with our stroke specialist today. 

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      Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

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      Neurointerventional / Stroke Treatments

      The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurointerventional / stroke conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.