what is hemiparesis

Hemiparesis, or unilateral paresis, is weakness of one entire side of the body (hemi- means “half”). Hemiplegia is, in its most severe form, complete paralysis of half of the body. Hemiparesis and hemiplegia can be caused by different medical conditions, including congenital causes, trauma, tumors, or stroke.

Depending on the type of hemiparesis diagnosed, different bodily functions can be affected. Some effects are expected (e.g., partial paralysis of a limb on the affected side). Other impairments, though, can at first seem completely non-related to the limb weakness but are, in fact, a direct result of the damage to the affected side of the brain

People with hemiparesis often have difficulties maintaining their balance due to limb weaknesses leading to an inability to properly shift body weight. This makes performing everyday activities such as dressing, eating, grabbing objects, or using the bathroom more difficult. Hemiparesis with origin in the lower section of the brain creates a condition known as ataxia, a loss of both gross and fine motor skills, often manifesting as staggering and stumbling. Pure Motor Hemiparesis, a form of hemiparesis characterized by sided weakness in the leg, arm, and face, is the most commonly diagnosed form of hemiparesis