Submissions from Readers

Impulse control

by Lucy
(Lowell MA, USA)

Question: My husband had a vertebral artery dissection causing a minor stroke 9 years ago. Recovery was rapid without incident. Now he seems to be having issues with impulse control - anger with yelling, etc. No other reason to suspect another cause other than late effects of stroke. Could this be the cause?


Answer: If your husband did not start exhibiting these symptoms until recently, then I would not believe that the stroke 9 years ago is the cause of these symptoms. If, however, he was exhibiting these symptoms since the stroke, and they have seemed to worsen gradually over time, then it may be possible. You didn't mention your husband's age, but as we age, there are definitely changes in the brain as well as in hormones which can affect the way in which a person acts. Since you are noticing these changes, it would probably be good for your husband to visit a neurologist to see if there have been changes in the brain. If no changes are detected, then I would ask about having bloodwork and hormones checked by his general practitioner or an endocrinologist.

Sometimes people will attribute sudden emotional, cognitive and physical changes to a stroke they had years ago and will just ignore these changes. It is important to investigate the cause of any changes in health regardless if one had a stroke years ago, as in many cases these new changes occur because of other reasons. That's why it is important to know what effects the first stroke had and any new changes or worsening of symptoms that develop and to relay this to his physician and to be clear that these are new symptoms.

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