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Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is impaired. The connection between the basal ganglia and strokes arises when a stroke affects this region of the brain, located in the forebrain. A stroke in the basal ganglia can cause many symptoms and changes in the body due to the lack of blood flow to this region.
The basal ganglia region of the brain consists of the putamen, globus pallidus, and caudate nuclei. This area controls many of the actions of the body because it is directly responsible for interpreting and conveying the information exchanged between the cerebellum and spinal cord. When a stroke occurs, the blood to the brain may be reduced, or, in some cases, bleeding in the brain may occur. If a stroke is left untreated, the other regions of the brain may also be affected.
There are several areas of the body that may be affected by damage to the basal ganglia. Depending on the location of the damage, the exact symptoms will vary. There could be changes in movement and muscle control, as a result. Tremors, rigged muscles, stiffness, and loss of body movement can all be related to the basal ganglia and strokes. Patients may also have trouble swallowing, speaking, or smiling.
Some patients notice mental or personality changes after a stroke as well. They may be forgetful or have difficulty remembering words. Others may notice that patients seem easily frustrated, angry, or extremely sad. Patients may begin laughing or crying for no apparent reason as result of stroke damage to the basal ganglia.
If the arteries in this area begin to bleed, the blood may damage other tissues in brain. This may cause patients to feel nauseous and can even cause vomiting. Sometimes patients may lose consciousness due to the connection between basal ganglia and strokes. Those who lose consciousness may go into a coma.
Recovery from stroke damage to the basal ganglia depends on the severity of brain damage and the patient's attitude toward recovery. The age and health of an individual will also affect recovery. Patients may have to teach their brains to relearn things that had come to them easily before their strokes, such as talking, walking, or other tasks. Certain areas of the brain may have to compensate for other areas that were damaged as a result of a stroke.