Damage to the Hypothalamus

Due to stroke

Functions of the hypothalamus:

The hypothalamus controls a person's feelings of being hungry or full, anger, body temperature, sleep and wake cycle, sex drive, and it also controls the release of some hormones (Healthline, 2015).

As a result of the stroke and damage to the hypothalamus the patient may:

When a person suffers damage to the hypothalamus from a stroke they may exhibit weakness or the inability to use the right side of their body. The hypothalamus has also been linked to feelings of anger and frustration (Blair, 2013). A person with hypothalamus damage may present with a more frustrated or angry demeanor than before the damage. The patient may also develop an abnormal sleeping pattern because the hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates sleep (Healthline, 2015).

Treatment Options:

The results of the hypothalamus damage can be treated through therapy. The patient may benefit from physical and occupational therapy if they suffered physical damage to the right side of their body from the stroke. The patient may also suffer from imbalance of hormones and hormone therapy is also an option (Medline, 2016). The patient may also seek medical help for mood changes and may benefit from drug therapy.

Common caretaker questions:

How can you see the damage?

We are able to use brain scans such as fMRI to see the brain activity. Using fMRI allows us to see the blood flow in the brain and therefore to be able to see where the brain is active and where it is damaged (National, 2012).


Is the damage permanent?

The brain damage is permanent. The patient can improve on functions lost by participating in therapy. Therapy can teach other parts of the brain to take over. Medication can help regulate the patients mood and hormone deficiencies.


Will the damage get worse?

The damage is done. Due to the cause of the damage the patient may be at risk for future strokes and this could cause additional damage but if the patient has followed up with a medical provider who specializes in strokes, the damage should be over from the current event.

References:

Blair, R. (2013). Considering anger from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. HHS author manuscript, 3, 65-74. doi:

10.1002/wcs.154

Healthline. (2015). Hypothalamus. Retrieved from: http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/hypothalamus

MedlinePlus. (2016). Hypothalamic dysfunction. Retrieved from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001202.htm

National institute of mental health. (2012). How does the brain work?- Human cognition. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQEiux-AOzs