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What is hemiparesis?

If you’ve suffered a stroke, it’s likely that you have experienced weakness on one side of your body. This weakness is called hemiparesis and affects about eight out of 10 stroke survivors.

Our approach

At the Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute, our comprehensive depth of experience and expertise in treating stroke patients enables us to provide the most accurate diagnosis and analysis of your hemiparesis. Our multidisciplinary team of experts offers the most advanced treatment options to help you regain strength and movement to help you achieve the best quality of life.

Symptoms

Hemiparesis can affect your arms, legs, hands and face, and it can make it difficult to take care of everyday activities. Symptoms caused by hemiparesis can include:

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Inability to grasp objects

The location in your brain where the stroke happened determines where you will experience weakness in your body. Right-sided hemiparesis indicates injury to the left side of the person’s brain while left-sided hemiparesis involves injury to the right side of the brain.

Causes

While stroke is the most common cause of hemiparesis, brain damage due to trauma or head injuries and brain tumors caused by cancer can also account for muscle weakness. Certain diseases, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and some cancers can cause hemiparesis

Related conditions

While hemiparesis is a weakness that impacts one side of your body, hemiplegia is a complete paralysis of half of your body. Hemiparesis is less severe than hemiplegia.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will conduct a complete evaluation and testing to determine the cause and extent of your hemiparesis. This may include an MRI or other diagnostic tests.

Types of treatment

There are a variety of treatment options for hemiparesis. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs will likely be recommended by your doctor. Working with physiatrists, physical therapists and occupational therapists will help you to regain strength, improve your motor skills, increase your mobility and generally improve your ability to perform daily activities.

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