Man covering his face, possibly due to pain

What is Basal Ganglia Stroke?

September 12, 2019

What is Basal Ganglia Stroke?

The human brain is composed of many different components that work as one unit to control and manage an individual’s responses, actions, and thoughts. Basically, anything that can occur within the human body is mostly controlled by human brain activity. Neurons that are embedded deep within the brain are called basal ganglia and they play a major part in the human brain’s ability to control judgment, perception, and movement.

These neurons are considered cells in the brain that send out messages through brain impulses sent to the nervous system of the human body. Any type of damage incurred by the brain’s basal ganglia may lead to an adverse and possibly lifelong effect on an individual’s ability to move, perceive or to judge in their daily routine.

Strokes that damage the basal ganglia due to a restriction in the flow of blood to the brain can also lead to touch sensation and control of muscles for individuals. It has also been reported that personality changes may occur due to basal ganglia stroke.


Symptoms of Basal Ganglia Stroke

Basal Ganglia Stroke can have a number of symptoms. These symptoms will usually be very similar to stroke symptoms. A stroke occurs when the flow of blood is disrupted due to a blocked artery or a ruptured blood vessel that can result in the spilling of blood in and around the tissues of the brain.

Some of the symptoms of stroke include:

  • Problems with vision or eyesight (both eyes or one)
  • Lowered level of comprehension for spoken words
  • Reduced balance and coordination
  • Weakness
  • Numbness on one particular side of the body or the face
  • Intense and sudden headache

Basal Ganglia Stroke may also present some very specific and unique symptoms such as experiencing

  • Tremors
  • Difficult to swallow
  • Imbalanced symmetry for smiles
  • Weak and rigid muscles

In addition, the location of a basal ganglia stroke will also affect the symptoms that may be present in an individual. For example, a stroke of the basal ganglia that occurs on the left side of the brain may result in reduced awareness for events that happen on the body’s left side. On the other hand, Basal ganglia strokes that occur in the right portion of the brain may result in a feeling of confusion and apathy.


Causes of a Basal Ganglia Stroke

The most common reason for basal ganglia strokes is the occurrence of hemimorphic strokes. This kind of stroke occurs when a rapture transpires in one of the arteries of the brain. Hemmoraghic strokes occur when weakened arteries develop tears that can result in the leakage of blood into the surrounding areas of the brain. These blood leakages occur because basal ganglia are prone to rupturing and tears which is why most hemorrhagic strokes are the most common reason behind a basal ganglia stroke.

Basal ganglia can also be adversely affected by ischemic strokes. This can happen when blow flow is restricted by the narrowing of some arteries and by the presence of blood clots. This will result in reduced nutrients and oxygen in brain tissue and can may contribute to basal ganglia damage if the main blood vessel in the center of the brain called the middle cerebral artery, is affected by a blood clot.


Diagnosis and Risk Factors of Basal Ganglia Stroke

Certain risk factors may increase the possibility for individuals to develop Basal Ganglia Stroke. These include hypertension or high blood pressure, smoking and type 2 diabetes. The aforementioned risk factors are the same risk factors that may contribute to an individual’s possible development for ischemic stroke.

Healthcare provider or doctor will ask for the patient’s medical and family history and current symptoms. The patient’s doctor may also ask if the patient has hypertension or high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or is a cigarette smoker. The doctor may then further recommend that images of the patient’s brain be captured to check any possible anomalist. As such, they may recommend that an MRI scan or a CT scan be accomplished to further see any issues in terms of the patient’s blood vessels and brain. Once the type of stroke has been determined, emergency hospital personnel can then recommend the appropriate treatment for the patient.


Treatment of Basal Ganglia Stroke

Time is of the essence in terms of stroke treatment. As such, the soonest possible time for patients to visit the hospital emergency room or a stroke center, the better the outlook for the patient. As such, patients who are experiencing the symptoms of a stroke are advised to contact emergency services or their healthcare partner as soon as possible.

Patients who can get to the hospital in under 4.5 hours upon the presentation of symptoms may get a specific treatment that can address blood clots via a drug called tPA or tissue plasminogen activator. This tPA has been shown to work against blood clots by dissolving them and helping patients get better. Patients may eventually be given what is called a mechanical clot removal treatment within the first 24 hours of the stroke symptoms.