Atherosclerosis is a dangerous disease that affects the blood vessels of the brain. When it on the inner lining of the arteries are formed foci of cholesterol deposits, they cause a narrowing of the lumen of the vessels up to complete blockage.
With a slowly increasing blockage, the symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis determine the degree of insufficient blood supply to the brain. With rapid blockage of the lumen of the arteries by a thrombus or the contents of a cholesterol plaque disintegrated, foci of brain necrosis are formed.
The problem of atherosclerosis is that the early period of the disease is practically not felt, even stenosis of the vessels for 2/3 does not give a vivid picture of the disease, but only provokes slight dizziness and tinnitus, which a person attributes to stress or overwork.
In this article we will talk about the causes of cerebral arteriosclerosis, symptoms and topical treatments. In addition, consider the aspects of diet to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Causes of Atherosclerosis
Why does cerebral arteriosclerosis occur, and what is it? At the early stage of the pathological process associated with lipid metabolism, cholesterol begins to accumulate on the surface of a previously damaged vascular wall. Gradually, calcium salts and filaments of an unformed connective tissue are deposited on this cluster, and therefore, the surface of the atherosclerotic plaque begins to acquire an irregular convex shape.
Narrowing the lumen of the vessel, cholesterol outgrowth complicates the passage of blood and creates the prerequisites for the emergence of turbulent vortexes of blood flow. This leads to the destruction of platelets and leukocytes, as well as the gradual formation of a blood clot. Under adverse conditions for the body, it is able to come off and block the cerebral artery. At the same time, acute cholesterol in the vessels of the brain can provoke acute cholesterol plaque and lead to obliteration.
Simply put, atherosclerosis develops due to a violation in the body of fat metabolism. As a result, atherosclerotic plaques are formed from the "bad cholesterol" on the intima of the blood vessels.
Also causes that contribute to the occurrence of the disease are:
- sedentary lifestyle (hypodynamia);
- violation of metabolic processes;
- genetic factor (heredity);
- the presence of endocrine diseases;
- bad habits (smoking, alcohol);
- unhealthy diet (the predominance of fat and cholesterol in food).
However, the main cause of cerebral atherosclerosis is the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. It is known that the morphological development of the disease is divided into several stages, which we will write about below.
Certain signs of atherosclerosis of the brain vessels include the following symptomatic picture:
- Insomnia, nightmares at night, difficult lifting and trouble falling asleep;
- Loss of sensation in half the body;
- Severe, recurring headaches;
- Change of gait, steps unsure and wobbly;
- Change in speech, vision, tinnitus;
- Irritation, depression, tearfulness, and anxiety;
- Hot flashes and sweating of the face;
- Fatigue, weakness and confusion;
- Trembling of the chin and limbs;
- Memory problems;
- Face asymmetry
The above symptoms are not a diagnosis. To confirm or refute atherosclerosis, you must contact a neurologist, or, at a minimum, check your cholesterol level by passing an appropriate analysis.
Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis
In the case of atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, the initial symptoms are pains of the entire surface of the head, which sometimes appear first, and then their intensity and duration increase.
Changes occur in the process of falling asleep and sleep: insomnia, restless sleep, nightmares, daytime sleepiness. Patients noted constant fatigue, decreased performance. Character and habits change: constant change of mood, irritability, tearfulness, dissatisfaction with life and all those around. Sometimes there is a lack of coordination and slowness of some movements.
For many people, the symptoms of atherosclerosis manifest themselves in different ways; in addition, this disease can be classified as doubly dangerous, for the reason that it is rather difficult to detect. And it's not a time-consuming and difficult diagnosis, but the fact that most people prefer not to pay any attention to the signs of the disease, most often they are blamed on a simple headache, fatigue and migraine.
Based on the course and progression of the above symptoms of cerebral atherosclerosis, there are several stages:
- Initial stage. Has no pronounced symptoms, but still the person who monitors their health will notice changes, such as overwork after minor physical exertion, dizziness, recurrent headache, loss of memory and performance. Such symptoms often appear in the afternoon, but after resting or sleeping, they pass on their own.
- Stage of progression. At this stage, people tend to overestimate their strength and abilities, blame others for their failures. There is an increase in symptoms of the first stage. Anxiety, depression, suspiciousness join them. Dizziness, gait imbalance, trembling fingers or head, blurred speech, or gagging during meals are noted from time to time.
- Stage of decompensation. Severe atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels, which is characterized by loss of memory, the ability to think and maintain themselves. At this stage paralysis and stroke are common. Requires outside care.
Cerebral atherosclerosis can lead to chronic impairment of cerebral circulation and the development of dyscirculatory encephalopathy, as well as underlining transient cerebral circulatory disorders (transient ischemic attack) and strokes.
Currently, to determine the staging of the disease resort to ultrasound:
- Angiography of cerebral vessels - this method is additional already with a confirmed diagnosis, when the state of wall sealing is assessed by introducing a special substance into a blood vessel.
- Transcranial doppler or ultrasound of intracranial cerebral vessels.
- Duplex scanning or ultrasound of extracranial vessels.
These methods are safe and in conjunction with the main laboratory studies (OAK, OAM, biochemical blood test), which allow you to calculate the indicator of cholesterol levels, give complete information about the patient's condition.
The most effective means of preventing brain atherosclerosis is diet, avoiding bad habits and an active lifestyle. People who are predisposed to this disease will benefit from eliminating foods that contain cholesterol, replacing animal fats with vegetable fats, including dairy products, lean meat, vegetables and fruits in the diet. It is necessary to limit the consumption of salty, fatty, rich and fried foods.
Products such as sea kale, legumes, cauliflower, nuts and raisins, eggplants, quinces, grapefruit, ripe cherries and watermelons will be helpful in the diet.
Treatment of cerebral atherosclerosis
The scheme for the treatment of atherosclerosis is a long, and most often, a lifelong process. In this regard, the goals of therapy are:
- reduction of ischemic manifestations;
- restoration of a part of cells and their functions;
- preventing the serious consequences of stroke;
- changes in fat metabolism for the output of "bad" cholesterol.
The neurologist deals with these tasks, his duties include identifying people with similar problems, assessing the severity of the disease and the implementation of conservative therapy. First of all, it is designed to improve the blood supply to the brain, to become the prevention of arterial thrombosis.
Modern methods of medical treatment are aimed at eliminating the effects of atherosclerosis of the brain vessels and restoring the normal functionality of the vessels and arteries. For this are assigned:
- Statins (liprimar, atoris, zokor, mertinil, and others) reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood to normal and help the atherosclerotic plaque to stabilize and not increase in size.
- Fibrates (fenofibrate) - lower triglycerides. Accepted by courses, treatment control after 1-2 months of constant admission.
- Nicotinic acid, as well as its derivatives - these drugs can sometimes be used in the treatment of atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels.
- Bile acid sequestrants (cholestide) are ion exchange resins, they can bind fatty acids in the intestines and not allow them to be absorbed.
- Ezetemib - prevents the active absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
- Antihypertensive drugs - pills that reduce blood pressure. They should be taken daily.
- Antiplatelet agents (thrombotic ass, cardiomagnyl) are drugs that promote blood thinning, which reduces the risk of blood clots.
- Vitamins of group B, vitamin C, vitamin A - have a tonic effect and belong to the means of adjuvant therapy.
After the examination, the attending physician will prescribe the appropriate drugs. Medication intake will be quite long, and in some cases they will have to be taken for life. Therefore, before taking the drugs you need to carefully read the instructions and possible side effects.
With the ineffectiveness of drug treatment, surgery is possible. The indication is ultrasound examination, during which revealed 70 percent narrowing of the lumen of the cerebral artery. It requires the advice of a surgeon who will choose the type of operation.
The most commonly used carotid endarterectomy, in which the wall of the affected vessel is dissected, the thrombus is removed, the artery is restored by suturing. Also, quite recently a new type of operation appeared - angioplasty. A catheter is introduced into the artery, which expands the vessel, as a result, blood flow is restored and cholesterol plaque is pushed.
In some cases, stenting may be used. For this, a wire frame is installed in the vessel, which straightens the artery and holds its shape.
The success and productivity of the treatment of atherosclerosis is directly dependent on adherence to the diet. Most often, this disease affects overweight people. To avoid complications of the course of the disease and speed up recovery, you need to make a diet a life style diet.
High cholesterol foods should be excluded from the diet:
- Fatty meat and fish;
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Chocolate, cakes, muffins, cocoa;
- Fatty rich soups and broths;
- Liver, brain, kidney;
- All types of fat and animal fat;
- Spicy, salty dishes;
- Coffee, strong black tea.
Instead of animal fats you can eat liquid fats of plant origin. Especially useful oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega group: Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9. They are rich in flaxseed and olive oil. Despite the high caloric content, these products help cleanse and strengthen blood vessels, return them elasticity, normalize metabolic processes.
We adhere to the regime
A patient of any age needs exercise, good physical exercise. Long walks, swimming, classes in the Health group are useful. It is not recommended to engage in strength training. On the exercise bike you need to set the mode of sparing.
The patient needs positive emotions. They will get rid of the negative effects of life stress. In the family circle, it is necessary to provide for the duties and advice of an elderly person. His knowledge and experience should be appreciated by his relatives.
It should be understood that cerebral atherosclerosis is classified as a chronic disease, so treatment is most often lifelong. Depending on how timely the diagnosis was made and the treatment started, the prognosis will also depend.
In the practice of neurologists, extensive forms of atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels are known, which, however, allowed people not only to live for a long time, but also to remain efficient. However, there are cases when the first clinical manifestation of this disease ends in a stroke and is fatal for a person.
Therefore, the doctor plays such an important role in the timely diagnosis of the disease and its qualified treatment.