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Basal Ganglia Stroke

Basal ganglia stroke is a condition that arises when the basal ganglia receive little to no oxygen. This happens when this part of the brain has sustained some damage or blockage which inhibits the blood from flowing smoothly. The condition causes a number of symptoms specific to stroke of the basal ganglia and this helps in getting the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Stroke involving the basal ganglia is treated in a hospital setting.  The more severe cases even require intensive care treatment. Treatment is usually a combination of medications, surgical intervention and rehabilitation therapy to bring back normal body functioning at the earliest time possible. Supportive care from the attending physician and loved ones also make a difference for faster recovery.

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Causes of Basal Ganglia Stroke

Stroke occurs when blood is hampered from flowing to the brain, which could either be due to blockage or some sort of damage. If this interruption develops in the region of the basal ganglia, it is called basal ganglia stroke. Basal ganglia refer to the part of the brain that is composed of globus pallidus, putamen and caudate nucleus.  This part is responsible for learning, motor activities and other functions.

The basal ganglia sustain damage or blockage easily. Interruption of blood flow causes the cells in the basal ganglia to slowly die because of the absence of oxygen. This will eventually result in a range of symptoms unique to basal ganglia stroke, such as:

  • Impaired movement

Stroke limited to the basal ganglia causes changes in body movement. This is usually manifested as rigid muscles, stiffness and tremors. The ability to make some bodily motion is also lost. A person suffering from the condition will also experience muscle weakness on the face, throat and mouth.

  • Behavioral changes

These are usually exhibited as poor judgment, confusion, inappropriate emotional reaction, agitation and depression. The patient may also lack enthusiasm and feel discouraged. Stroke also causes problems in understanding the turnout of recent events that surround the patient.

  • Impaired cognitive function

This is displayed as attention and memory problems. The ability to make decisions, as well as the verbal skill, is also affected.

In addition, patients experience headache, nausea and vomiting. The rising pressure will cause the brain to slowly shut down and so loss of consciousness or coma will follow.

Treatment of Basal Ganglia stroke

Treatment for stroke aims to prevent further damage as well as slowly regain normal body functions. The duration of the healing process differs from person to person depending on the extent of brain damage, age of the patient, expertise of the attending physician and support from family and friends.

Upon seeking treatment, the doctor will work on various laboratory and imaging tests as well as neurological exams to assess the signs and symptoms suffered by the patient. He or she may start with conservative treatment involving pain medications to stabilize the symptoms and reduce the head pressure. Severely affected individuals might need surgical intervention to relieve the pressure. Rehabilitation therapy immediately follows to bring back the lost functions. It is important to work closely with a team of qualified doctors and therapists to ensure better and effective treatment for Basal Ganglia stroke.

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