Hemiplegia is a form of paralysis that affects one side of the body, usually due to a brain or spinal cord injury. In the case of a brain injury, it will occur on the side of the body opposite the side with the brain injury.

It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. With immediate medical care, less severe forms can be reversible.

What are the symptoms of hemiplegia?

Paralysis on one side of the body is the main symptom of hemiplegia. Depending on severity, it may affect just one area or the entire side of the body, including that side of the face and that side’s arm and leg.

Hemiplegia sometimes coexists with other medical conditions, such as seizure disorders, sensory deficits and behavioral conditions. While it is usually chronic, there are instances of patients experiencing short-term paralysis.

What causes hemiplegia?

Hemiplegia is typically the result of a brain or spinal cord injury. Brain injuries that can lead to hemiplegia include concussion, brain bleeds and other types of stroke, and other forms of traumatic injury. Numerous brain disorders, including brain malformations, can also lead to hemiplegia. In patients with spinal cord injuries, both trauma to and lesions on the spinal cord can lead to hemiplegia. Individuals of any age can experience it, including newborns and adults.

Are treatments available for hemiplegia?

When it is the result of a specific injury to the brain or spinal cord, a medical team will focus on treating the underlying cause, which can help a patient manage symptoms. Additionally, rehabilitation options such as physical, speech and occupational therapies can help patients manage or improve their health.

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