Hemiparesis, also known as one-sided weakness, is a disorder that affects almost all the muscle movements on one side of the body. It generally occurs following a stroke and is one of the most common aftereffects, affecting 65% of stroke patients . A stroke affects the overall supply of oxygen to certain brain parts. If the affected brain parts from stroke are responsible for handling muscle functioning and motility, it causes hemiparesis. However, it could also result from brain injury, tumour multiple sclerosis, brain infection, etc.
The following are the common signs or symptoms presented by patients suffering from hemiparesis:
- Individuals suffering from hemiparesis have weakness or partial paralysis on one side of the legs, face, hands, feet and chest regions that causes issues in overall movements.
- Suffering individuals might also experience numbness and fatigue in the affected areas.
- The tone or reflexes of an individual could also be observed in affected patients.
- In some instances, the individuals might face difficulty handling objects, incoordination of affected parts or disturbed balance.
Left hemiparesis is a type of hemiparesis which affects the body parts on the left side of an individual. However, it is caused due to dtysfunctioning majorly to the right side of the brain. A lack of oxygen supply that might be a result of a stroke that affects the functioning of the right hemisphere of the brain causes weakness or paralysis on the left side portion of the body. Individuals suffering from left hemiparesis might also have other symptoms affecting attention, vision and emotional balance due to a defect in the brain's right hemisphere.
It is one of the most common types of hemiparesis. Right hemiparesis affects the body parts located at the right of an individual. It is caused due to dysfunction on the left side of the brain. As opposed to left hemiparesis, a lack of oxygen or injury in the brain's left hemisphere majorly affects the functioning of the body parts on the right side. Since the left hemisphere is involved in right hemiparesis, discrepancies in the affected individual's verbal, reading and arithmetic ability might also be observed.
Weakness on One Side of the Body
Apart from the left and right hemiparesis, ipsilateral hemiparesis is the type of hemiparesis that affects muscle weakness of body parts at the same amount of the body. E.g., if the right side of the brain is affected through stroke or injury, then muscles to the right of the body are impacted. This is one of the significant symptoms of hemiparesis. It is caused due to a blockage in the arteries that cuts or lowers the blood supply to the brain or dysfunction of specific brain regions. Since it impacts an entire side of the body, it affects the ability to walk, sit and balance an individual. Muscle fatigue present at the affected parts could cause a lack of coordination which decreases the precision of tasks like holding or grabbing particular objects, decline in bowel or bladder control, which causes a significant decrease in the overall quality of life.
Left Hemisphere Stroke
Stroke is a phenomenon where blood clot or turn blood vessels affects the general supply of oxygen in the brain . A low or no supply of oxygen in the left hemisphere region of the brain is known as a left hemisphere stroke. It could not just cause right hemiparesis but also affect the brain's basic logical skills, including the ability to read, write, speak and calculate. One of the significant symptoms caused by left hemisphere stroke is related to the discrepancies in language speaking ability of the affected individual as the language centre of the brain is located in the left hemisphere. Also, individuals might suffer memory loss, decreased problem-solving ability and other cognitive disabilities.
Hemiparesis: Diagnosis and Treatment
Hemiparesis can be diagnosed through a physical examination conducted by a medical expert. Imaging processes like MRI or CT scans could also help in diagnosing hemiparesis. Hemiparesis most commonly impacts ankle and wrist regions whose positions could be stabilized through resting hand splints and solid ankle-foot orthosis. The treatment methodologies for hemiparesis mostly rely on the ability of the central nervous system to re-heal itself back. Therefore, methods like the insertion of electrical or cortical stimulation that helps advance movements by sending signals to the body parts and the brain could improve the functioning of the weak or paralyzed body parts in hemiparesis.
Physical therapy techniques that aim to provide proper alignment, recognition of limbs, promote weight balance, muscle tone reduction and elongation of muscle could be used to treat hemiparesis. Also, occupational therapy, which is the ability to use the affected body parts for daily activities like bathing, self-feeding and dressing subtly regularly, could help improve the symptoms caused by hemiparesis. In mirror therapy, individuals practice from the unaffected side by keeping a mirror in front could also help train the brain to think that both sides are working, helping treat hemiparesis. Acupuncture and massage also have a significant effect in treating hemiparesis.
Hemiparesis - References
- ^ Mary Ann Rutherford. al. (2022). Magnetic Resonance Image Correlates of Hemiparesis After Neonatal and Childhood Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke: Influence Statistics. Retrieved 19 Nov 2022.
- ^ Bourbonnais D., et. al. (1992). Incoordination in patients with hemiparesis. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 83(2), pp. S58-63. https://europepmc.org/article/med/1468052. Retrieved 19 Nov 2022.
- ^ González-Fernández M. and Feldman D. (2021). Rehabilitation of the Stroke Patient. Conn's Current Therapy, 742-746. https://www.clinicalkey.com/#!/content/book/3-s2.0-B9780323790062001701. Retrieved 19 Nov 2022.
- ^ Wist S. et. al. (2016). Muscle strengthening for hemiparesis after stroke: A meta-analysis. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 59(2), pp. 114-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rehab.2016.02.001. Retrieved 31 Oct 2022.