Between the cerebral cortex and the mid-brain is a double-lobed mass called the thalamus. This mass controls sensory perception, movement and consciousness. A left thalamic stroke occurs when the blood supply is cut off in the left side of the thalamus. This affects the opposite side of the body.
Strokes in the thalamus occur more in young people, usually in smokers. Older people who have these strokes typically have a history of atherosclerosis, which is hardening or narrowing of the arteries. A small stroke in this region sometimes causes sensation loss on the opposite side of the body. However, if a larger stroke occurs that involves the thalamus and adjoining parts of the brain, some paralysis or weakening sometimes results.
Recovery from these effects usually occurs over time. In some cases a pain syndrome also occurs in these patients. Pain ranges from mild to severe. Although some recover from this condition, for many the pain syndrome is permanent.
Warning signs of a stroke include unexplained numbness, especially on one side of the body; problems understanding people when they talk; problems responding or speaking; becoming dizzy or having problems maintaining balance; and a sudden, severe headache. If these symptoms occur, it is important to contact a medical professional as quickly as possible. Early detection and treatment increase the chance for recovery.