Hypertensive encephalopathy: what is it?

Hypertensive encephalopathy is a complication of high blood pressure and a sharp spasm of blood vessels of the brain. It’s safe to say that hypertensive encephalopathy is a required complication of hypertension in the absence of proper treatment. Compliance with the rules of prevention will prevent the development of this complication, and early treatment will help to avoid irreversible changes in the brain.

Hypertensive (or hypertensive) encephalopathy. What is it?

This condition that develops in the brain tissue as the result of persistent uncontrolled high blood pressure in the blood vessels. Arterial hypertension is considered to be persistent (more than three times in a row) elevation of systolic pressure above 140 mm Hg.St., and diastolic over 90 mm Hg.St.

While high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the brain occurs spasm (narrowing), in which brain tissue loses oxygen and nutrients. This leads to changes in the functioning of a part of the brain and, consequently, to the violation of the functions of the body, which is responsible for this site. Often found in patients with mixed form of encephalopathy, when along with increased pressure the blood vessels inside are covered with atherosclerotic plaques. This form usually reflects the lack of treatment of hypertension.

The causes of the disease

Hypertensive encephalopathy may be the result of congenital conditions, leading to disruption of blood supply to the area of the brain or be the result of external factors. Congenital causes can be vascular anomalies (congenital aneurysm, a weakness in the walls of blood vessels), genetic defects in metabolism resulting in blockage of small blood vessels or congenital increased blood clotting, which at higher pressure can also cause blood clots and blockage of blood vessels. Factors contributing to hypertensive encephalopathy, may be:

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  • The acute form of kidney nephritis (inflammation of kidney’s tissue with impaired renal function, which indirectly leads to a persistent increase in blood pressure and spasm of blood vessels, contributing to cerebral vascular accident).
  • A stroke is a disturbance of the blood supply to part of the brain as a result of spasm or rupture of the vessel. Encephalopathy in this case develops second, after suffering a stroke.
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  • Transient ischemic attack is a recurrent spasms of small blood vessels of the brain due to high systemic blood pressure, leading to disruption of oxygen to a particular area of the brain.
  • Hypertensive crisis – a sharp increase in blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg.St., leading to impairment of the General condition of the patient.
  • Increasing the level of cholesterol in the blood stream (leading to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques that clog the lumen of the vessels).
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction have a toxic effect on the entire body, including blood vessels and tissue of the brain.
  • Diseases of the endocrine system leads to hormonal disturbance. For example, Cushing’s syndrome leads to increase in quantity of cortisol, and as a result, the increase in blood pressure.
  • Pheochromocytoma – a tumor of the adrenal glands producing the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, increased amounts of which leads to an increase of blood pressure.

Symptoms of hypertensive encephalopathy

There are three stages of disease:

  • The compensation stage or the initial symptoms. Appears unstable loss of memory in patients lability (variability) of emotions, increased irritability, recurrent headache or dizziness, staggering. Also, patients may notice changes in mental activity (bouts of melancholy, hypochondria, depression, anxiety, etc.).
  • Stage of decompensation is characterized by increased symptoms of the first stage. The headache becomes persistent and continuous, there is a noise in the ears, sleep becomes restless. The patient feels drowsiness, fatigue, there is tearfulness, poor concentration and memory. Symptoms of focal brain damage, such as a violation letter, speech, facial expression, tremor (shaking) of head and hands, impaired coordination of movements, walk and others. Occasionally you may experience involuntary fits of laughter or crying. Often patients poperhivaetes eating.
  • Stage of decompensation. At this stage in the brain, the patient may be areas of dead tissue – so there is residual encephalopathy. Symptoms of this stage are persistent impairment of speech and memory. Can occur convulsive epileptiform seizures. There is a strong mental retardation (dementia). Often, this stage proceeds with the syndrome of intracranial hypertension when the tissue of the brain swells, the number of CSF and intercellular substance becomes more common. This causes symptoms such as severe headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness with loss of consciousness. Serious complication of this condition is the displacement of brain structures in one direction, which violates many functions of the body.
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    Every attack of high blood pressure can lead to the emergence of new or the strengthening of existing symptom. The main measures of prevention in the development of hypertensive encephalopathy are the prevention of high blood pressure.