Cortical Stroke Symptoms

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A cortical stroke occurs when the blood supply to the outside, or cortex, of the brain is reduced or blocked, which results in brain damage. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes states that the cortex is the main processing center of the brain, which processes movement, sensation and language. According to, major risk factors of developing a cortical stroke include high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol. Patients who have suffered a cortical stroke, as well as their caregivers, should be aware of the lasting symptoms and seek help in managing them.

Sensory Loss

A lasting symptom of a cortical stoke may be permanent sensory loss, states MedlinePlus. This occurs because a stroke may damage the part of the cortex that processes sensory information from other parts of the body. In addition, a stroke on one side of the cortex may lead to permanent sensory loss on the opposite side of the body. Although early treatment may reduce the severity of sensory loss, a patient with a stroke may experience numbness for the rest of his life, depending on the extent of brain damage.

Difficulty Communicating

MedlinePlus states that a patient with a cortical stroke may have lifelong difficulty communicating. Depending on the part of the brain that was affected, a patient may experience difficulty understanding, difficulty organizing thoughts, difficulty expressing thoughts, or difficulty with speech. Thus, rehabilitation with a speech therapist is necessary for a patient who is having ongoing difficulty communicating. A speech therapist can help the patient better understand information and express thoughts over time. Furthermore, the patient’s caregivers and family must understand his limitations and make the necessary adaptations to increase communication between the patient and the surrounding environment.

Loss of Mobility

A patient with a cortical stroke may lose his ability to walk, states MedlinePlus. This lasting complication typically occurs if the part of the cortex affected by the stroke is responsible for motor movements or muscle movements that involve the legs. Furthermore, parts of the brain that are responsible for balance and coordination may be affected. Early physical rehabilitation can re-teach balance and coordination and help a patient regain muscle strength to increase mobility. At times, however, brain damage is too extensive to allow a patient to fully recover. Thus, a wheelchair or other assistive walking device may be necessary to improve a cortical stroke patient’s mobility.