Encephalopathy of the brain: symptoms and treatment

Encephalopathy of the brain is a pathological condition in which the insufficiency of the supply of oxygen and blood to the brain tissue leads to the death of its nerve cells. As a result, there are regions of decay, blood stasis, small local areas of hemorrhage are formed and edema of meninges is formed. Affects the disease mainly white and gray matter of the brain.

Encephalopathy is not an independent disease, but it occurs against the background of other diseases. She finds herself in different age groups: both in adults and in children. Its flow is wavy, chronic. Sometimes the phase of deterioration is replaced by a temporary improvement in the condition, but the prognosis of the disease is inconclusive: although this disease is incurable, many people live a long enough life observing the regimen of taking medications, by systematically monitoring blood pressure indicators and using folk remedies for prevention, which significantly reduces the negative consequences of the disease.

Causes of encephalopathy

The development of the disease is not slow, however, there are exceptions. For example, with severe damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as malignant hypertension, the disease progresses suddenly and rapidly. Currently, the classification of encephalopathies is based on the reasons for their formation:

  • congenital (perinatal) encephalopathy. The causes of its occurrence are genetic disorders of metabolism, umbilical cord entanglement, infectious diseases transferred during gestation, birth trauma


  • dyscirculatory. It occurs with noninflammatory lesions of the meninges, which causes insufficiency of the cerebral blood supply, as well as in the presence of pathologies of the brain vessels. It is subdivided into atherosclerotic, venous, hypertonic and mixed encephalopathy
  • progressive vascular leukoencephalopathy. The reason for its appearance is the defeat of the cerebral vessels and the violation of their microcirculation, as well as the presence of arterial hypertension
  • toxic encephalopathy. Occurs when the body is exposed to toxic agents. There are alcoholic, narcotic, «Wernicke» and medicamentous. So, alcoholic — develops with toxic damage to the meninges, the cause of which is the abuse of alcoholic beverages. Encephalopathy Wernicke is manifested with a deficiency of vitamin B1;
  • Post-traumatic or «Missed-shock syndrome» (SPM). The reason for its appearance is a traumatic brain injury. Often found in sportsmen involved in boxing, karate, football, etc.
  • Radiation. Occurs when the human brain is exposed to radioactive radiation;
  • progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Occurs when the JC virus progresses (lymphoma, AIDS, leukemia)
  • Metabolic. Its appearance is associated with impaired metabolic processes in the body. There is a hyperosmolar, hypoglycemic, hyperglycemic (or diabetic), pancreatic, hepatic, uremic, etc.

In contrast to congenital, acquired encephalopathy appears already during the life of a person.

Symptoms of encephalopathy

Recognizing the occurrence of encephalopathy is problematic. After all, the state that precedes its development can be characterized by symptoms typical for a person that are temporary, such as headache, dizziness, tinnitus. At first, it can be mistakenly associated with a change in weather, excessive physical or mental stress, or severe stress. But, if you do not pay attention to them, you can tolerate the progression of the disease, since even such symptoms can speak of worsening of cerebral circulation.

By its nature, the symptomatology of encephalopathy is very diverse. But its most common signs, with the exception of the three above, are:

  1. general weakness;
  2. increased fatigue;
  3. Tearfulness
  4. lack of initiative
  5. sudden mood changes;
  6. Depressed state
  7. short temper;
  8. clouding of consciousness, destruction of memory
  9. impaired vision and hearing;
  10. poor sleep;
  11. An obsession to die.

At a doctor’s appointment, such patients often have difficulty in pronouncing certain words, their speech is wordy, the range of interests is narrowed, and there is a desire to sleep in the daytime. These are common and most common symptoms of encephalopathy. Also, you should know that each type of disease corresponds to its symptomatic set.

So, for the development of discirculatory encephalopathy are characterized by 3 stages, characterized by a certain set of characteristics:

  • compensated stage. There are common symptoms, such as dizziness, memory impairment, headaches.
  • The subcompensated stage. Symptoms are more pronounced and clear:

  • permanent headache;
  • incessant tinnitus
  • worse sleep
  • Tearfulness
  • state of depression;
  • listlessness
  • decompensated stage. The main symptoms of this stage are life-threatening morphological changes in the brain tissue.

Progressive vascular leukoencephalopathy can lead to the development of dementia. Symptoms of this encephalopathy:

  1. headache;
  2. nausea, vomiting
  3. memory impairment
  4. dizziness;
  5. the appearance of phobias;
  6. psychopathy
  7. the occurrence of hallucinations;
  8. asthenia.

Toxic and, above all, alcoholic encephalopathy is dangerous, the destructive effect of toxic substances on the vessels of the human brain, manifested by the following symptoms:

  • prolonged, acutely psychoneurological personality disorder
  • increase in the volume of the ventricles of the brain
  • blood clots in the meninges;
  • brain edema.

Posttraumatic encephalopathy is dangerous by the latent course of symptoms, manifested after a long time after the injury:

  1. Behavioral disorders
  2. disturbed thinking
  3. diffuse
  4. memory loss.

It should be noted that the severity of these symptoms will be the stronger, the heavier and more dangerous the resulting injury. For radiation encephalopathy are two types of disorders: asthenic and psychological. Symptoms that characterize progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy:

  • impairment of the higher functions of the brain
  • a mental disorder that may lead to dementia
  • epileptic seizures and ataxia — are rare.

This leukoencephalopathy is the most «aggressive» of a large number of encephalopathies, its outlook is disappointing — a lethal outcome.

Symptoms of metabolic encephalopathy:

  1. confusion
  2. diffuse
  3. drowsiness;
  4. retardation;
  5. speech impairment
  6. the occurrence of hallucinations;
  7. violation of the worldview
  8. coma — with the progression of the disease.

Diagnosis of the disease

A successful diagnosis of encephalopathy is facilitated by a comprehensive diagnosis. For this, it is necessary, first, to study the patient’s history data in advance. And second, to test the patient for:

  • coordination of movements;
  • memory status
  • psychological state.

These studies can show the presence of changes in the patient’s psyche, and in identifying third-party diseases, the doctor is more likely to make a preliminary diagnosis.

In parallel with the above studies, the patient is assigned such tests:

  1. A general blood test. The key here is the blood lipids. If its value exceeds the norm, then it can be judged that the discirculatory brain encephalopathy begins to progress in the patient
  2. metabolic tests that illustrate the numerical values ​​of glucose, electrolytes, ammonia, oxygen and lactic acid contained in the blood. Also included in this test is the numerical measurement of liver enzymes
  3. autoantibody analysis showing the presence of neuron-destroying antibodies that promote dementia
  4. blood pressure monitoring
  5. A test for the detection of drugs and toxins in the body (in toxic form)
  6. measuring the level of creatinine — allows to identify abnormalities in the functioning of the kidneys.

For a more accurate picture of the disease, studies are also conducted using methods such as:

  • ultrasound dopplerography of the vessels of the brain and neck. It shows the presence of pathological circulation, helps to identify abscesses,
  • ultrasound scanning — to detect plaques or spasms in the walls of blood vessels
  • ultrasound monitoring can identify the cause of clot formation and the presence of emboli
  • Computed tomography, MRI — for finding tumors and brain abnormalities
  • electroencephalography — to detect brain dysfunction
  • rheoencephalography — to assess the state of blood vessels and cerebral blood flow
  • radiography of the spine (cervical section) with functional tests.

For the diagnosis, not all of the above studies are appointed by the doctor. Indications for conducting a specific study are dictated by the severity of the disease and certain difficulties in diagnosing.

Treatment of encephalopathy

The treatment of encephalopathy is quite long. Its duration depends on the duration and severity of the disease, on age and the presence of the patient in parallel with current diseases. During the year the patient is required to carry out treatment in the amount of 2-3 courses (inpatient and outpatient). Its main directions will be:

  1. drug treatment. Includes in the appointment of drugs that optimize cerebral circulation and neuroprotectors. This treatment — course (for 1-3 months)
  2. physiotherapy treatment. Includes acupuncture, ozonotherapy, electrophoresis, blood irradiation, treatment with magnetic therapy techniques
  3. Surgical treatment — is designed to adjust the blood flow of the brain, by performing an endovascular operation to expand the affected vessels.

Successful treatment of the disease is facilitated by a correction of the standard of living, which includes:

  • refusal of alcohol (with alcoholic form), drugs, smoking
  • lean and salt-free diet
  • Body weight adjustment
  • motor mode.

Treatment of encephalopathy can also be carried out by folk remedies:

  1. 1 tbsp. L. Juice of green onion, mixed with 2 tbsp. L. Honey, taken before meals, minimizes the consequences of the disease;
  2. 1.5 tbsp. L. Clover flowers brew 300 ml of boiling water, insist 2 hours. Use in a day for 3 times (30 minutes before meals). This folk remedy — from noise in the head
  3. 2 tbsp. L. Rose hips for 500 ml of boiling water — aged for several hours. It is an excellent folk remedy for the treatment of encephalopathy.

And although such a powerful disease as encephalopathy is a shock for a person, however, with the recommendations of a doctor combined with treatment with folk remedies, you can not only minimize the consequences of the disease, reduce the number of side effects, but also improve the prognosis of the disease, as well as the quality of life .