What is Basal Ganglia Stroke?
Stroke is an emergency medical condition that requires immediate treatment. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a segment of the brain is cut off either partially or completely. This results in the cells of that part to start necrosing. Stroke may also occur when there is a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain and the blood leaks into the brain tissue. There are times when stroke affects the basal ganglia. This is a part of the brain that performs various key functions. The basal ganglia control body movement. It also plays a part in muscle control. An individual is able to differentiate between hot and cold due to basal ganglia. It also plays a key role in the thinking process of an individual. Thus a basal ganglia stroke affects key bodily functions .
The overall prognosis of an individual with stroke depends on the severity of the event, location, age of the individual and overall health status. A study was conducted to test the overall return of function of people with basal ganglia stroke versus other forms of stroke. The study showed that there was significant return of motor function after three months of the event. People with cortical lesions demonstrated the best prognosis based on CT scan .
The prognosis was not so favorable in people with strokes restricted to the basal ganglia. These people tended to have increased incidences of hypotonia, impaired balance and coordination and problems with ambulation. The study also showed that people with basal ganglia stroke responded not so positively to rehabilitation. This article highlights some of the causes and risk factors for Basal Ganglia Stroke and the treatment options for it .
What Causes Basal Ganglia Stroke?
There are basically three types of Basal Ganglia Stroke, all equally serious. They all have different causes. These include:
Ischemic Stroke: This is the most common form of stroke. It occurs when there is a blood clot that blocks the blood flow to the brain. Studies suggest that more than 85% of strokes are ischemic in nature .
Hemorrhagic Stroke: This is quite a rare form of stroke and constitutes about 40% of all stroke cases that result in fatalities. This data is according to the National Stroke Association. This type of stroke occurs due to rupture of a blood vessel with blood leaking into the blood tissues .
This accumulation of blood can put excessive pressure on the brain causing damage to the entire structure. Majority of Basal Ganglia Strokes are hemorrhagic in nature and the most common cause of it is uncontrolled hypertension .
Transient Ischemic Attack: These in general terms are called mini strokes. An individual is said to have a transient ischemic attack when he or she develops symptoms of a stroke but for not more than 24 hours and the symptoms usually resolve. These attacks do not cause any significant damage to the brain. However, it definitely signifies that the individual is at risk for having a stroke in the near future .
Apart from the causes mentioned above, there are also certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of an individual having stroke. These factors include ethnicity. Various studies show that African-Americans and Native Americans are more at risk for having a stroke that normal population. However, age is not a factor in determining stroke risk in an individual .
Additionally, an individual with a family history of stroke is also at risk for getting this condition at some point. An individual with a history of a transient ischemic attack is also at risk for developing stroke in the future. Uncontrolled hypertension is also one of the most common risk factor for stroke. People with atrial fibrillation and hypercholesterolemia are also at risk for having a stroke. This condition is also quite common in diabetics or people with coronary artery disease .
How Is Basal Ganglia Stroke Treated?
Coming to the treatment of Basal Ganglia Stroke, it usually depends on the severity of the stroke and the type of it. The sooner the patient receives medical attention the better is the prognosis post a Basal Ganglia Stroke. If a blood clot is believed to be the cause of the Basal Ganglia Stroke then immediate treatment with clot dissolving medications is the need of the hour for chances of a good recovery .
For people with hemorrhagic strokes, surgery is the most preferred form of treatment. The surgery is aimed at relieving the pressure from the brain and reducing the damage. The ruptured artery or blood vessel will be closed during the time of surgery. More intensive surgery will be required for hemorrhages that are severe in nature .
In conclusion, recovering from a stroke takes significantly long time and requires lot of patience from the patient and the caregivers. Despite of best rehabilitation efforts, studies have shown that people might not recover completely after a Basal Ganglia Stroke. These people may always have decreased muscle tone and will have problems with balance and coordination. Ambulation problems are also quite common in people with Basal Ganglia Stroke according to various studies [1, 2].
Some people lose their sensation significantly following a Basal Ganglia Stroke. They may find it difficult to differentiate between two extremes of temperatures. There are also cases where there are significant personality changes after a Basal Ganglia Stroke. These people may cry or laugh for no apparent reason .
Some people may frequent errors in judgment after a Basal Ganglia Stroke. The severity of these complications however can be decreased to an extent by quick medical intervention following the stroke. If the damage done to the brain is less, the chances of complete recovery are quite bright even in people with Basal Ganglia Stroke .
Thus it is important for people to recognize the risk factors for a stroke and work on them accordingly on reducing the chances of having a Basal Ganglia Stroke sometime in the future. This means eating a well-balanced diet, indulging in regular exercise, have better control of blood pressure and blood sugars, especially in diabetics .