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Hidden stroke effects studied

WebMD UK Health News Brief
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
concerned older man

29th March 2018 – People who've had a stroke are often left with physical, visible, disabilities but experts in the US have been studying the 'hidden' effects of having a stroke which they say can really affect a patient's quality of life.


The real-life study involved 1,195 people, average age 62, who'd had an ischaemic stroke – caused when blood supply to part of the brain is blocked.
Around 100 days after their stroke they filled out a questionnaire about their physical functioning, fatigue, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, thinking skills such as planning and organising, how much pain affects their life, and their satisfaction with their current social roles and activities.

About a quarter of those taking part needed help from a family member to answer the questions.

Their level of disability was also measured.

Around a third of people who survive a stroke have problems speaking, writing, reading, or understanding, but one limitation of the study is it didn't look at communication issues.


Physical functioning was the area where people who'd had a stroke were most affected, but the researchers also found that:

  • 58% of people who'd had a stroke had scores that were worse than those of the general population when it came to satisfaction with their social roles and activities
  • 46% of people who'd had a stroke had thinking skills (planning and organising) that were worse than the population average

In fact, study participants had scores that were considerably worse than those in the general population in every area except sleep and depression.

The findings are published in the latest online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


The main study researcher, Dr Irene Katzan of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, says when it comes to stroke rehabilitation in the future better understanding of the importance of thinking skills and social participation on people's wellbeing is needed.

Reviewed on March 29, 2018

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