Symptoms and signs of brain encephalopathy develop in children and adults for various reasons and are difficult to treat. Often, the consequences of degenerative changes in white and gray matter are irreversible and potentially fatal.
Brain encephalopathy is a disease that is a variant of cerebrovascular disease (CVD). It arises as a result of metabolic disorders in the neurons of the brain, against the background of chronic cerebral circulatory insufficiency (CCF). Oxygen deficiency leads to neuronal death. There is edema of the meninges, local areas of hemorrhage are formed, the work of the central nervous system is disrupted.
Subject to a special regimen and regular courses of medical procedures, a person with such a diagnosis will live a long and full life.
Features of the disease
The diagnosis of cerebral encephalopathy of the brain in adults or children means that for some reason the metabolism of the main organ of the human body has been impaired.
Regular oxygen deficiency sooner or later leads to critical damage to cells, which the body already lacks resources to restore.
This is a disease that always proceeds against the background of some pathology.
It does not arise on its own, only as a result of a negative effect on the circulatory system.
The prognosis of vascular encephalopathy of the brain (encephaloneuropathy) in adults and children is doubtful, with regular treatment and adherence to the doctor’s recommendations, the increase in negative phenomena can be slowed down. But it is impossible to avoid deviations and recover.
The person will face a deterioration and then a loss of cognitive functions. In this case, acute attacks can be replaced by a temporary improvement in the patient’s condition.
Causes of occurrence
The specific culprit for the development of pathology may be one or a number of body dysfunctions, lifestyle features:
- Congenital pathologies or dysontogenetic deep encephalopathy, whether it can be cured is determined by the depth of the disorders, the stage at which it is detected and other factors.
- Regular increase in blood pressure.
- Atherosclerosis, characteristic of elderly patients. Narrowing of the lumen or complete blockage of blood vessels does not allow the body to provide vital systems with the necessary amount of oxygen.
- Pancreatitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas that prevents it from performing the necessary functions in full.
- Brain trauma of any severity. One of the most common and dangerous factors, since an attack of CVD encephalopathy with corresponding symptoms, can appear long after the injury.
- Diseases of the liver, diseases that lead to massive tissue necrosis are especially difficult.
- Diabetes mellitus of any type with uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
- Alcoholism and drug addiction.
- Problems in the work of the endocrine system.
- Resuscitation measures, frequent use of anesthesia.
The specific reason that served as a catalyst for the development of cerebral encephalopathy in adults or children of various stages or degrees, during the diagnosis, will be determined by the doctor.
Specificity of the course
Encephalopathy can be thought of as a slow stroke. Due to oxygen deficiency, neurons die. Although not on the same scale as in cerebral infarction, but regularly and for a long time.
Pathological changes accumulate. The foci of ischemia are transformed into necrotic ones, after which the body tries to get rid of them. There is a softening (encephalomalacia) and resorption (encephalolysis) of dead brain areas.
The body’s compensatory capabilities hide these processes for years. But sooner or later, they are depleted. And there are manifestations of encephalopathy, neurological deficit.
There are several classification criteria:
- by localization: parietal, frontal, cerebellar, etc.;
- for the main reason: somatogenic (against the background of pathology of internal organs), post-traumatic, etc.;
- based on volume: localized (focal) or diffusely diffuse (when the whole brain is affected).
A preliminary conclusion on the severity and prevalence of the pathology, the doctor can after examining the patient. The nature of the deviations will roughly indicate the localization of the main focus of the disease, its extent. For example, cerebellar damage is accompanied by imbalance.
When the first signs of chronic cerebral circulatory insufficiency (CCF) appear, you need to be tested for cerebral vascular encephalopathy in order to have time to correct it at the initial stage.
Early diagnosis is complicated by the variety of types of disease that develop depending on the type of impact on the body.
Symptoms of a disease such as congenital vascular encephalopathy of the brain appear practically from birth, which makes the prognosis of a child’s life difficult.
Brain damage is often combined with pathology of the spinal cord. In such cases, a diagnosis of encephalomyelopathy is made.
The disease can be contracted at any age. Due to the influence of external factors or disorders of the vascular system. There are such pathology options:
- metabolic, developing as a result of kidney or liver problems;
- discirculatory encephalopathy is a CVD that occurs in the presence of serious vascular diseases;
- toxic due to regular poisoning of the body with toxic substances;
- radiation, with strong or regular exposure to radiation, hard radiation;
- traumatic, serving as a reaction to the resulting TBI;
- focal, rapidly progressing, arises as a manifestation of a number of autoimmune processes.
Common causes include alcohol, drugs, exposure to lead, and food poisoning. A special case is a drug toxic type, which manifests itself after drug poisoning or in case of an overdose. Occasionally it occurs as a reaction to an incorrectly selected anesthesia.
The congenital type manifests itself already from the first days of life, and the acquired one can develop at any age.
Unfortunately, it is far from always possible to identify encephalomyelopathy in the early stages.
The initial manifestations coincide with the usual ailments of a person and rarely cause concern. Until they pass into the chronic phase, they become pronounced and noticeable.
The first symptoms of developing encephalomalacia of the brain (softening of gray and white matter) are:
- weakness, onset of fatigue;
- drowsiness during the daytime;
- sudden mood swings, tearfulness;
- depression, flowing into suicidal ideation;
- increased irritability.
Gradually, with the death of white and gray matter cells, depending on the specific type, they join:
- deterioration in sleep;
- regular severe headaches;
- weakening of memory;
- noise in ears;
- behavioral disorders.
The appearance and intensification of certain symptoms depends on the root cause of the onset of the disease. Secondary – on the scale and rate of development of encephalolysis of the brain, the characteristics of the patient’s body.
Diagnostics and treatment
The basis of diagnosis is the collection of anamnesis. To select an effective therapy, it is necessary to establish what influenced the development of pathology, to eliminate the cause.
Having determined what is the cause of moderate focal encephalopathy of the cerebral vessels in adults, how it manifests itself, it is possible to decide whether it is possible to cure it. Although complete elimination of the disease and regression of neurological deficits, it is almost impossible to achieve.
The diagnosis is carried out by a neurologist in conjunction with other doctors, whose profile is the treatment of the root cause.
The patient undergoes various procedures:
- examination and questioning, to identify the severity of the symptoms manifested;
- delivery of routine clinical tests;
- MRI studies, computed tomography;
- ultrasound scanning (dopplerography) of the vessels of the head and neck.
After receiving the results and assessing the current condition of the patient, the doctor makes a conclusion whether the encephalopathy is treated or not.
As a rule, doctors are able to slow down the development of the disease and reduce the severity of the manifestation of symptoms.
Therapy is selected depending on the specific type. But encephalopathy of the brain (somatogenic, cerebellar, diffuse diffuse), regardless of complaints, requires first the treatment of the underlying cause.
After that or at the same time, procedures and medications are prescribed that can improve blood circulation in the brain and reduce the harm caused to it. The patient will have to undergo a series of therapeutic courses throughout the year. The basis of therapy will be:
- physiotherapy, including magnetotherapy, acupuncture, ozone therapy;
- medicines that stabilize blood flow in the vessels of the neck and head;
- surgical intervention of a vascular nature in some cases.
The help of a neurosurgeon or resuscitator becomes necessary when the patient is in critical condition, on the verge of coma.
Doctors have to decide how to treat an acute progressive encephalopathy of the brain due to impaired blood supply or failure of internal organs.
By choosing the right tactics, the patient’s condition is stabilized, acute patients have a chance to recover completely.
In chronic cases, returning the previous amount of white and gray matter, getting rid of the symptoms, will not work. But with regular courses of treatment, the development of the disease can be slowed down by compensating for some neurological deficit.