Why does atherosclerosis occur in the human body and what is it?
As a result of disturbances in lipid metabolism, deposition of low and very low density lipoproteins occurs on the inner walls of arterial vessels. The forming deposits are called plaques. They are formed in the vessels of the kidneys, heart, brain and others. These vascular structures have good extensibility due to the presence of a powerful muscle layer in their structure.
When the disease only appears and begins to progress, the accumulation of cholesterol plaques does not significantly affect a person’s well-being. At the initial stage of development, the disease proceeds without visible symptoms.
Most often, the disease is diagnosed in age category 45.
Atherosclerosis of the arterial vessels of the brain is only one reason for the appearance – the presence of elevated cholesterol in blood plasma.
The appearance of this violation can be due to various factors.
The main risk factors are:
- age group 45;
- the presence in the body of excess weight;
- the presence of a patient with prolonged persistent high blood pressure – hypertension;
- hereditary predisposition – the presence of cerebral arteriosclerosis in immediate relatives;
- the development of diabetes in a patient;
- tobacco smoking;
- systematic abuse of alcohol;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- the presence of increased blood coagulability in a person.
More than half of patients have a combination of cerebral arteriosclerosis in their bodies with a similar damage to arteries of a different location.
Most often, a lesion is observed:
- Coronary vascular system.
- Arteries of the lower extremities.
- Vascular system of the kidneys.
- Arteries feeding the intestines.
The appearance of the patient’s characteristic symptoms of the nervous system should immediately alert the doctor conducting the examination of the body.
There are a lot of factors contributing to the onset of the disease, and the age of a person is the most common of them. According to medical statistics, every second patient in the elderly and senile is susceptible to this pathology.
A significant role is played by the hereditary factor. From a father or mother, a person can be “inherited” a tendency to hypertension, especially the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, lipid metabolism, which, in turn, creates dangerous conditions for the development of the disease. However, this does not mean that atherosclerosis cannot be avoided. Doctors are sure that if the necessary preventive measures are followed, a dangerous illness can be prevented.
The impetus for the development of the disease can also be an incorrect diet, which is characterized by excessive consumption of foods with high cholesterol. A person who consumes a lot of fried, fatty foods should be aware that he himself creates certain prerequisites for increasing lipids, which are a kind of building material for atherosclerotic plaques.
Many people lead a sedentary lifestyle, and this leads to stagnant processes in the body. Thus, inactivity is another reason why atherosclerosis of the main arteries of the head and other vessels of the brain can develop.
You can not discount the passion for addictions, such as alcohol, smoking. The use of alcoholic beverages leads to the natural breakdown of fats, nicotine – to the narrowing of large vessels.
And finally, the cause of the pathology may be a violation of the hormonal background caused by thyroid diseases, or a number of other diseases of the internal organs.
Atherosclerosis is a polyetiological disease, which is based on a violation of lipid metabolism.
The basis for the development of the disease is an excess of cholesterol. The reason for this is a metabolic disorder, which leads to poor production and breakdown of fats.
Many factors provoke the development of the disease. The main ones are:
- sedentary lifestyle;
- genetic (hereditary) factor;
- metabolic disease;
- bad habits: smoking and alcohol abuse;
- disease of the endocrine system;
- improper diet (excessive consumption of fatty foods, a passion for sweets and smoked meats);
- frequent stress;
- complication of cervical osteochondrosis;
- excess weight;
- elderly age.
The causes of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques are not fully understood. It is noted that old age and the genetic factor are the most common of them. Violation of lipid metabolism is directly related to lifestyle, bad habits and malnutrition.
Alcohol in large quantities creates a barrier to the breakdown of fats. This contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic changes in the vessels.
The mechanism of trophic disorders of the brain is to block the cerebral artery with a cholesterol plaque or vascular stenosis due to hypertension.
Young people with a hereditary predisposition should pay particular attention to preventative measures and a healthy lifestyle.
In cervical osteochondrosis, atherosclerotic changes occur due to circulatory failure in the vertebral arteries responsible for the nutrition of the brain stem. This occurs when squeezing the vertebral arteries, reflex spasms and irritation of the stellate node.
The risk group includes overweight people with diabetes and hypertension, as well as leading a sedentary lifestyle and having bad habits.
The main cause of cerebral arteriosclerosis lies in age-related changes. This explains the presence of a similar violation in 95% of people over 70 years of age. As you get older, your metabolism slows down. This creates conditions for increasing blood lipids and the formation of atherosclerotic formations on the walls of blood vessels.
At a young age, signs of atherosclerosis arise as a result of a combination of the influence of adverse external and internal factors. Most often, an early manifestation of this pathological condition occurs in people who systematically eat malnutrition. Factors that increase the risk of developing atherosclerotic deposits include:
- alcohol addiction;
- arterial hypertension;
- the presence of endocrine diseases;
- frequent stay in stressful situations;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- hormonal failures.
Of great importance in the formation of this pathological condition is given to a genetic predisposition. If a person has a family history of developing atherosclerosis, such a patient falls into a special risk group.
In 50-60% of patients, atherosclerosis of the cerebral arteries is combined with a similar vascular lesion of a different location (coronary arteries of the heart, aorta, lower limbs, kidneys, intestines). Therefore, characteristic complaints and symptoms of the nervous system in combination with atherosclerosis of blood vessels of any localization should alert against atherosclerotic lesions of the cerebral arteries.
Atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels is manifested by the deposition of cholesterol plaques on the inner walls of the arteries. Their formation occurs in the vessels of the kidneys, heart, and brain, since their muscles are highly extensible.
As a result of a violation of lipid metabolism, cholesterol accumulates on the vascular walls. Then, sodium and calcium salts accumulate on it, forming a convex form of growth. Cholesterol plaques impair blood flow, which causes turbulent turbulence in the bloodstream.
The pathological process entails the destruction of blood bodies and the formation of a blood clot. At one point, he can come off and clog the cerebral artery.
So, the main reason for the development of the disease is the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries. In general, atherosclerosis is a pathology that develops due to an imbalance of fat metabolism. Additional prerequisites for the appearance of pathology include:
- Hereditary predisposition.
- Bad habits such as alcohol and smoking.
- Excessive intake of fatty foods and cholesterol.
- Concomitant endocrine diseases.
Why does cerebral arteriosclerosis occur, and what is it? At an early stage of the pathological process associated with impaired lipid metabolism, cholesterol begins to accumulate on the surface of a previously damaged vascular wall. Gradually, calcium salts and filaments of 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, the cholesterol growth complicates the passage of blood and creates the prerequisites for the occurrence of turbulent eddies in the blood stream. This leads to the destruction of platelets and white blood cells, as well as the gradual formation of a blood clot. Under unfavorable conditions for the body, it is able to break away and clog the cerebral artery.
- clinical picture
- Types of vascular pathology
- Signs of the disease and its diagnosis
- Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis
- Stage Atherosclerosis
- Diagnosis of cerebral atherosclerosis
- Treatment and prevention of pathology
- Symptoms and consequences of cerebral atherosclerosis
Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis are not immediately apparent. The first sign of atherosclerosis is pain. At first, the pains are dull, aching, but as the disease develops, they become more intense. But if at the initial stage the patient experiences pain in the head after emotional or physical exertion, then later they become his relentless companion even at rest and are accompanied by ringing in the ears. This is due to acute cerebrovascular insufficiency and high blood pressure.
Along with pain, a person’s concentration is disturbed. It often happens that the patient cannot concentrate even on important household details, suffers from forgetfulness, cannot even remember any new information. In advanced cases, he cannot remember his name. This is due to the fact that the brain suffers from an acute lack of nutrients, while the parietal and temporal zones of the brain suffer to a greater extent.
The patient becomes irritable, aggressive, he has constant changes in the emotional background caused by stagnation of blood. Often there is a manic-depressive syndrome, anxiety states occur. In the later stages, schizophrenic psychoses may develop.
As the disease develops, loss of sensitivity of the extremities, of individual parts of the body, asymmetry of facial features caused by paralysis of the facial nerves is diagnosed, this is the focal (neurological) symptomatology.
In the future, the signs of cerebral arteriosclerosis become more apparent, focal neurological symptoms increase.
The sooner a person seeks help from a medical institution, the higher the chances of successful treatment. It must be taken into account that in advanced cases it will be already problematic for the patient to consult a specialist on his own.
To begin with, a detailed survey is carried out of an applicant for complaints and past illnesses (history), which, perhaps, could serve as an impetus for the development of atherosclerosis. Next, a series of functional tests is carried out to identify focal symptoms and instrumental studies.
The necessary diagnostic measures include:
- Ultrasound of cerebral vessels (to assess the speed of blood flow in the cerebral arteries);
- MRI (for imaging vessels);
- angiography of cerebral vessels.
As laboratory methods, general and biochemical blood tests are shown. Only after carrying out the necessary studies, the doctor can give instructions on how to treat cerebral arteriosclerosis correctly and effectively.
On average, clinical signs of the disease can occur starting at the age of 45.
However, pathological changes in the structure of blood vessels occur as early as 30 years.
An interesting fact is that men are diagnosed with pathology 10 years earlier than women.
This is due to the longer support of the female body with estrogen.
Symptoms begin to appear only if the vascular structure is affected by 50%. The main signs of atherosclerosis are:
- regular pain in the head;
- uncertain and shaky gait;
- trouble sleeping, nightmares;
- difficulty getting up in the morning and tired during the day;
- impaired vision, speech and the appearance of tinnitus;
- tremor of limbs and chin;
- sweating and hot flashes;
- facial asymmetry;
- memory impairment and distraction;
- depressive state;
- feeling of anxiety and tearfulness.
An early symptom of pathology is the development of headaches localized in different parts of the head. At first, they rarely appear, but over time, their frequency increases.
The danger of atherosclerosis is that at first it passes almost asymptomatically. People attribute weak symptoms of the disease to overwork. However, it can progress rapidly, causing various complications.
Since the course of the disease has a different degree of severity, it is customary to separate several stages of atherosclerosis:
- Initial stage. The disease is almost asymptomatic. A person may feel slight fatigue after physical exertion, infrequent pain in the head, dizziness, impaired working capacity and memory. Chronic fatigue syndrome is more pronounced in the afternoon.
- Progression of pathology. The primary signs are added nervousness, irritability, depression. The patient begins to blame other people for their own failures. Occasionally, gait instability, fuzzy speech, trembling of the head and fingers, dizziness are observed.
- Stage of decompensation. It is the most difficult stage of cerebral atherosclerosis. It is characterized by the impossibility of concentration, lack of clear thinking and loss of memory. At the stage of decompensation, consequences such as strokes or paralysis are possible.
Types of vascular pathology
Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the brain is a pathological process in which a narrowing of the cerebral blood vessels occurs and, as a result, cerebrovascular insufficiency. Despite the fact that this ailment is attributed to the elderly, its “rejuvenation” has recently been observed.
This fact is extremely alarming: atherosclerotic processes in the vessels are formed in young people already at the age of 20-30, and only thanks to its long course the first clinical manifestations are diagnosed, as a rule, in elderly patients. It is noteworthy that this disease is more often observed in civilized countries, but this is not an indicator.
The process is formed under the influence of vascular blocking by cholesterol plaques and their stenosis – high blood pressure causing arterial spasm. There are two types of disease (depending on the degree of damage):
- non-stenotic atherosclerosis of the main arteries of the head (initial stage);
- stenosing atherosclerosis of the main arteries of the head (advanced form).
The disease, which is often called the “silent killer,” is dangerous because in the absence of adequate therapy, the likelihood of encephalopathy, ischemic stroke, and senile dementia is very high. These are secondary diseases, but the fact that they constitute a colossal threat to mental and physical health is not in doubt.
Depending on the symptoms, several varieties of pathology are distinguished.
Progressive cerebral arteriosclerosis develops rapidly, and therefore requires immediate treatment. It manifests itself as a decrease in working capacity, memory impairment, emotional instability, headaches, insomnia, inability to concentrate, fainting, and fast fatigue.
This kind of pathology affects the personality of the patient. Over time, a change in his behavior occurs, which leads to mental disorders. Local symptoms of the disease are headaches, impaired speech and decreased visual acuity.
Untimely diagnosis and therapy of progressive atherosclerosis leads to the development of such consequences:
- necrosis of brain tissue;
- significant decrease in sensitivity;
- impaired mental activity;
- the development of paralysis.
Cerebral atherosclerosis leads to a significant disorder of the central nervous system. When there is a violation of blood flow in the brain, hypoxia develops, that is, oxygen starvation, which is accompanied by neuronal dysfunction (encephalopathy).
Cerebral atherosclerosis is able to provoke chronic cerebrovascular disorders and the development of encephalopathy in the human body.
In addition, the disease underlies the occurrence of transient disorders of cerebral circulation, so-called transient ischemic attacks occur and the occurrence of strokes is observed.
Based on the course of the disease, three stages of the disease are distinguished.
The stages of the disease are characterized by the following symptoms:
- The initial stage of the ailment does not have a pronounced symptomatology, but if a person closely monitors the state of health, he is able to detect some changes in it. First of all, the patient develops fatigue after applying slight physical exertion to the body. At this stage of the progression of the disease, dizziness and periodic headache may occur, at the same time at this stage there is a disorder of memory functions and reduced performance. Most often, the onset of symptoms is characteristic of the afternoon. Symptoms characteristic of this stage of the development of the disease pass after a short rest without the use of therapeutic effects.
- Stage of progression. This stage is characterized by the appearance in a person of a tendency to overestimate his strengths and abilities. At this stage, there is an increase in symptoms characteristic of the initial stage of the development of the disease. Anxiety and the emergence of depressive conditions join the existing symptoms. Additionally, dizziness, trembling fingers and blurred speech may occur.
- Stage of decompensation. This stage of pathology progression is difficult. He is characterized by a loss of memory and the ability to think and serve himself adequately. This stage is characterized by the occurrence of paralysis and strokes.
The disease develops in stages:
- The initial stage of diffuse changes in the vascular walls, the formation of atheromas (cholesterol plaques). Yellow or brown stripes oriented along the length appear on the walls of the vessels. Negative factors and bad habits accelerate the formation of deposits. At this stage, characteristic clinical signs may be absent.
- Progressive stage. Hardening of lipid deposits and inflammation of the vessels in the area of formation of yellow stripes occur. The body includes defense mechanisms. Inflammatory processes lead to the penetration of clusters into the tissue of the vascular walls. Fat deposits take the form of capsules towering above the arterial walls.
- Stage of decompensation. An atherosclerotic plaque ruptures with a large release of blood, which rapidly thickens under the influence of fats. This is how blood clots form. A characteristic complication is atherocalcinosis. Formed blood clots with vascular atheromas clog the lumen of the vessel, which leads to strokes, heart attacks and necrosis.
Based on the course and progression of the above symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis, several stages are distinguished:
- Initial stage . It has no pronounced symptoms, but still a person who monitors his health will notice changes, such as overwork after minor physical exertion, dizziness, periodic headache, decreased memory and performance. Such symptoms more often appear in the afternoon, but after rest or sleep go away on their own.
- Stage of progression. At this stage, a person is inclined to overestimate his strengths and abilities, to blame others for his failures. There is an increase in symptoms of the first stage. They are joined by anxiety, depression, suspiciousness. Dizziness, gait instability, trembling of the fingers or head, blurred speech or choking with food are occasionally noted.
- Stage of decompensation. Severe stage of cerebral arteriosclerosis, which is characterized by loss of memory, ability to think and serve yourself. At this stage, paralysis, strokes are often found. Extraneous care is required.
Cerebral atherosclerosis can lead to chronic cerebrovascular accident and the development of discirculatory encephalopathy, as well as underlie transient cerebrovascular accident (transient ischemic attack) and strokes.
Signs of the disease and its diagnosis
In the case of the development of the disease, the initial symptomatology of the disease is the appearance of pain over the entire surface of the head.
Pain at the initial stage sometimes appears, and subsequently their intensity and duration increase.
Most often, patients do not pay special attention to such symptoms, referring to fatigue and an intense rhythm of life.
The following signs and symptoms are characteristic of a developing ailment:
- disturbance of the sleep process – insomnia appears, nightmares at night, heaviness in the body when waking up and problems with re-falling asleep;
- partial loss of sensitivity of a part of the body;
- the appearance of strong and often occurring pain in the head;
- speech disorders;
- impaired vision;
- the appearance of tinnitus;
- the appearance of irritability;
- the onset of depression, the appearance of tearfulness and a sense of anxiety;
- the occurrence of hot flashes and sweating;
- the patient has increased fatigue, weakness and distraction;
- the chin and limbs begin to tremble;
- memory problems appear.
The appearance of these signs does not yet indicate that the patient develops atherosclerosis of the vessels that feed the brain.
In order to accurately verify the presence of the disease, a complex of studies should be carried out, therefore, when these symptoms appear, you should consult a neuropathologist for advice.
During the examination, laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods are used.
To determine the staging of the disease, an ultrasound examination of the vascular system is used.
In addition, if it is necessary to clarify the diagnosis, the use of:
- Vascular angiography – a diagnostic method allows you to detect the presence of seals of the vascular walls. Diagnosis is carried out using a special contrast compound introduced into the vascular bed.
- Transcranial Doppler.
- Duplex scanning or ultrasound examination of the intracranial vascular system.
These examination methods are effective and absolutely safe. These types of examinations are carried out in parallel with laboratory tests.
Certain signs of cerebral arteriosclerosis include the following symptomatic picture:
- Insomnia, nightmares at night, difficult recovery and trouble falling asleep;
- Loss of sensation of half the body;
- Severe, frequently recurring headaches;
- Gait change, steps uncertain and shaky;
- Change in speech, vision, tinnitus;
- Irritation, depression, tearfulness and anxiety;
- Hot flashes and sweating of the face;
- Fatigue, weakness and distraction;
- Chin and limb tremors;
- Memory problems;
- Asymmetry of the face.
The above symptoms are not a diagnosis yet. To confirm or refute atherosclerosis, you need to contact a neurologist, or at least check your cholesterol level by passing an appropriate analysis.
Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis
The initial signs of cerebral arteriosclerosis, patients are often referred to as normal overwork. Weakness, headaches, and nervous instability are mistakenly accepted as a temporary disorder. In the success of treatment, an early diagnosis of the disease plays a large role.
With a narrowing of the lumen of the vessel by 2/3, characteristic symptoms of atherosclerosis appear:
- permanent noise and ringing in the ears;
- continuous headache due to hypoxia;
- weakening of memory, decreased intelligence;
- uncertainty of gait and slight limping;
- frequent flashing of “flies”, black spots in front of closed and open eyes;
- hot flashes and redness of the face, excessive sweating;
- the development of hypertension;
- compressive pain in the region of the heart;
- sleep disturbance;
- instability of the nervous system: depressive states and irritability;
- trembling limbs;
- weakness and general malaise.
Symptoms of the disease can manifest themselves in different ways. In almost every case, patients complain of a constant headache. The person looks tired, sleepy and lethargic. With atherosclerosis of the brain, the development of cephalgia is characteristic – headaches of an indefinite nature. Localization depends on the area of damage, but unpleasant soreness covers the whole. At the same time, the nature of the pain syndrome is a bursting and pressing sensation.
From the side of the nervous system, changes also have various manifestations. Patients note constant weakness, fatigue.
Atherosclerosis sufferers are characterized by changes in personal qualities, increased irritability, constant excitability and a sense of anxiety. Changes also apply to sleep: during the day, the patient may experience increased drowsiness, and at night – insomnia. Due to a disturbance in brain activity during a person’s sleep, nightmares can torment. In the later stages, there is a risk of developing schizophrenia-like psychoses and dementia.
In addition to the main clinical manifestations, problems often arise with vision and hearing, and a decrease in the sensitivity of limbs. In elderly patients, such symptoms are perceived as physiological age-related changes.
In patients, asymmetry of the face due to paralysis of the facial nerves may be noted. The patient does not remember information well, and in the later stages of the disease is not able to remember his own name.
With damage to the arteries of the occipital part of the brain, photopsia is a characteristic symptom. There is a violation in the anomaly of visual perception, the occurrence of light phenomena in front of the eyes.
The disease tends to progress. In the later stages, it can lead to disability. Thrombosis, as a complication, increases the risk of death.
Severe symptoms of atherosclerosis begin to appear only after plaques on the walls of the cerebral vessels greatly increase in size, narrowing the lumen and disturbing blood circulation. Brain tissues begin to lack oxygen and nutrients.
At first, symptoms of pathology can appear against the background of physical activity. Due to stress, tissue oxygen consumption and nutrients increase, so the signs of cerebral arteriosclerosis may increase, even if the blood flow has not been completely blocked. In patients, even before the onset of an active ischemic process, complaints about:
- decrease in speed of thinking;
- difficulty concentrating;
- bouts of dizziness;
- noise in ears.
After a short rest, all symptoms can quickly disappear. Since these first signs of a problem are rare, a person may not pay attention to them.
As the disease progresses, there is not only an increase in the size of plaques from cholesterol, but an increase in sclerotic changes in the structure of tissues that form the walls of blood vessels. This leads to the fact that the signs of pathology become so pronounced that they cannot be ignored. Patients have complaints about:
- mood swings;
- frequent attacks of headache;
- distinct changes in character;
- decreased intelligence;
- marked memory impairment;
- noise in the head.
Tremor of the head and fingers may be present. If the examination is not performed in a timely manner and adequate therapy is not started, signs of atrial fibrillation, a decrease in the sensitivity of the soft tissues of the limbs and other disorders may appear.
In the future, pronounced signs of dementia may appear. This condition is accompanied by a decrease in the ability to remember incoming information, the patient cannot normally navigate in space and time, and ceases to critically evaluate his behavior and condition.
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The clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis have been increasing for a long time, so often elderly people get used to them and stop paying attention to them, considering the existing symptoms of pathology signs of a natural aging process. The development of this disease may indicate:
- general weakness;
- redness of the face;
- black dots flickering in front of the eyes;
- nightmares and restless sleep;
- increased sweating;
- impaired coordination of movements;
- changes in the shape of the pupils;
- narrowing of the veins of the fundus;
- increased pulse on the neck;
- asymmetry of the face;
- protracted depression.
These signs do not allow to accurately determine the presence of atherosclerotic lesions of blood vessels located in the brain. In this case, the appearance of these symptoms is a cause for concern and seeking medical help.
There are 3 stages of the development of atherosclerosis, accompanied by damage to the vessels of the brain.
At stage 1 of the pathological process, the vascular lumen is blocked by layers of no more than ¼ of its diameter. At the same time, no pronounced manifestations of pathology are observed, since the nutrients and oxygen supplied with the blood are sufficient to supply brain tissue.
At 2 stages, the lumen of the vessels is blocked by 1/3 of the diameter. This leads to an increase in symptomatic manifestations. At this stage of the pathological process, pronounced signs of ischemic tissue damage occur.
The most severe is the decompensation stage, in which the vessels are clogged by more than 1/3 of the diameter. This condition is often accompanied by severe neurological disorders and complications. Cognitive functions at this stage are completely impaired.
Vascular atherosclerosis in the brain itself is not dangerous and does not manifest itself. Danger and negative symptoms cause diseases and disorders of the cerebral circulation, which provokes atherosclerosis.
|disease||Manifestations and Symptoms|
|Acute: transient ischemic attack, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke||Strong headache|
|Loss of consciousness or speech|
|Paralysis of arms and legs on one side|
|Life-threatening critical deterioration|
|Chronic: discirculatory encephalopathy, cerebral artery aneurysms, dementia||Frequent or persistent aching headaches|
|Tinnitus, impaired coordination of movements|
|Shakiness when walking, dizziness|
|Weakness and numbness of limbs|
|Lingering or slurred speech|
|Decreased memory and intelligence|
In the case of the development of cerebral arteriosclerosis, the initial symptoms are pains on the entire surface of the head, which sometimes appear at first, and then their intensity and duration increase.
In many people, the symptoms of atherosclerosis manifest themselves in different ways, everything else this disease can be attributed to doubly dangerous for the reason that it is quite difficult to detect. And it is not a laborious and complicated diagnosis, but the fact that most people prefer not to pay any attention to the signs of the disease, most often they are attributed to a simple headache, fatigue and migraine.
Diagnosis of cerebral atherosclerosis
The first signs of the disease require immediate medical attention. For help, you need to contact a therapist, neurologist or cardiologist.
After collecting an anamnesis, the doctor conducts a number of special tests to determine the localization of the violation. Sometimes additional consultation with an ophthalmologist is required.
After examining and collecting an anamnesis, additional diagnostic methods are prescribed:
- ultrasound duplex scanning of cerebral vessels. These methods allow you to get a detailed picture of the state of the vessels and identify their causes: the consequences of injuries, abnormalities, atheromas and other pathologies. In addition to blood flow velocity, the geometry of the vascular lumen and the sinuous channel, the wall thickness and the parameters of atherosclerotic plaques are determined;
- Dopplerography of cerebral vessels and ultrasound. Using the Doppler method, the speed of blood flow is traced, and the area of cerebral vascular damage is revealed. This method is less informative when compared to duplex scanning;
- angiographic study. When it is carried out by introducing a contrast medium, the state of the vascular lumen is assessed. It is used as an additional examination.
In some cases, MRI is prescribed to visualize cerebral vessels.
By conducting laboratory diagnostic methods: a clinical blood test (general and biochemical) and urine, the general condition of the body and the level of blood cholesterol are estimated.
If any signs of pathology appear, a person should contact a medical institution for advice from a neurologist, neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist, and several other specialists. To determine atherosclerosis, a comprehensive examination using laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods is required. The attending physician should choose research methods.
First of all, general and biochemical blood tests are performed. Conducting biochemistry allows you to determine the content in the blood of triglycerides, cholesterol and low density lipoproteins. This study does not accurately determine the presence of pathology, but helps to classify the patient as a risk group, since atherosclerosis is subsequently determined in 50% of people who have elevated test parameters.
The most informative method for visualizing large vessels is dopplerography. When diagnosing atherosclerosis, angiography is often performed. This method of vascular imaging involves the introduction of a contrast agent directly into the vessels of the neck. This study allows us to determine the presence of pathological layers even on small vessels.
To confirm atherosclerosis, brain tomography with contrast is often performed. This is a reliable diagnostic method that allows you to clarify the condition of all the vessels of the brain.
Suspicions of cerebral arteriosclerosis must either be confirmed or disproved. For this, laboratory tests (blood tests) and instrumental (hardware studies) diagnostics are used:
- Biochemical analysis of the blood lipid spectrum: cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoproteins). To do this, donate blood from a vein. The analysis does not confirm the diagnosis of atherosclerosis, but only determines whether a person is at risk of this disease: are the norms exceeded for at least one of these indicators. In 50% of patients with clear symptoms of atherosclerosis, the studied parameters are within normal limits.
- Ultrasound Doppler, duplex scanning of cerebral vessels. The method is most informative for the study of only large cerebral arteries.
- Angiography of the arteries of the brain – the introduction of contrast medium directly into the arterial system of the neck. Each large and small vessel is contrasted and becomes visible on the x-ray film, x-ray monitor. This is the most reliable method in the diagnosis of atherosclerosis.
- Brain tomography (CT or MRI) with intravenous administration of a contrast medium is a good, fast and reliable diagnostic method that shows the state of all cerebral vessels.
If there are similar signs of pathology, do not hesitate to go to the doctor. The loss of valuable time leads to the development of undesirable consequences.
The initial stage of the diagnosis of atherosclerosis is a visual examination of the patient and the collection of anamnesis. To establish the correct diagnosis, you need to visit several experts – a neurologist and optometrist. A neurologist checks for tremors of the hands, head and other pathological reflexes. An optometrist examines the degree of narrowing and tortuosity of the capillaries of the eyeball.
Currently, to determine the staging of the course of the disease, ultrasound is used:
- Angiography of cerebral vessels – this method is optional even with a confirmed diagnosis, when the state of wall compaction is assessed by introducing a special substance into the blood vessel.
- Transcranial dopplerography or ultrasound of the intracranial vessels of the brain.
- Duplex scanning or ultrasound of extracranial vessels.
These methods are safe and in conjunction with basic laboratory tests (OAC, OAM, biochemical blood test), which allow you to calculate the level of cholesterol, provide complete information about the patient’s condition.
Treatment and prevention of pathology
A neuropathologist is involved in the treatment of the disease.
His tasks include identifying patients and assessing the severity of changes in the body.
After the examination, the doctor prescribes a course of adequate drug therapy.
Treatment of the disease is a long process and most often requires lifelong administration of special medicines.
The objectives of the treatment courses are:
- decrease in the intensity of ischemic manifestations;
- restoration of cells and their functional capabilities;
- prevention of the development of severe consequences of strokes;
- correction of fat metabolism in the direction of decreasing plasma concentrations of LDL and VLDL.
The drugs prescribed during the course of treatment should, first and foremost, provide an improvement in the blood supply to the cells of the nervous tissue.
In addition to traditional drug therapy, alternative methods of treatment can be used to improve the condition of the body. Before using this or that folk remedy, you should visit your doctor and consult on this issue.
As folk remedies, infusions and decoctions of fees consisting of various herbs are used.
One of the conditions for preventing the progression of the disease is to follow a special diet recommended by a doctor.
In the implementation of the treatment, drugs belonging to various groups of pharmaceuticals are used.
In the process of treatment are used:
- Fibrates. These cholesterol pills are not recommended for use with statins.
- A nicotinic acid.
- Sequestrants of bile acids.
- Antihypertensive drugs.
- Antiplatelet agents.
- Vitamin complexes. Containing B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin A.
In addition to drug treatment, another kind of method for restoring the blood supply to the brain is used – surgical intervention.
This method of treatment is used in the absence of positive dynamics in the patient from the use of drug exposure.
An indication for surgical intervention is an ultrasound examination, which revealed a narrowing of the lumen of the vessels by more than 70%.
After identifying such a violation, a vascular surgeon is consulted who chooses the most optimal method of surgical intervention.
The most common surgical procedure is stenting. In the process of stenting, a wire frame is installed in the vessel, supporting the necessary internal lumen of the vessel and its shape.
An expert in the video in this article will talk about the treatment of cerebral atherosclerosis.
During the rehabilitation period, the patient must strictly observe the doctor’s instructions and take the prescribed medications, receive adequate physical and mental stress, and psychotherapy. For a speedy recovery, he is shown physical therapy exercises. So that a person does not feel impaired, he needs to give simple instructions, for example, in the form of cleaning his room.
Recovery will not be effective if the patient continues to smoke and drink alcohol, lead an inactive lifestyle. Excessive physical activity, of course, is contraindicated, but sports training under the supervision of a doctor, regular walks will have a beneficial effect on the body. In combination with a balanced diet, sports will help keep weight normal, and therefore, control blood pressure.
During the period when the patient is still too weak, he should have means of support in order to avoid getting injuries. It is recommended to take a shower in a sitting position, it is advisable to equip the bath with special handles so that a person can hold on to them. To avoid falling, the patient’s shoes should be worn on non-slip soles.
With timely access to medical help, the prognosis of the disease is positive in 80% of cases. Complete cure is achieved by comprehensive measures.
If the cause of the pathology is cervical osteochondrosis, massage of the neck and collar zone and a set of exercise therapy exercises should be introduced into therapy.
In the early stages of the disease, drug treatment is sufficient. For treatment, such agents are used:
- statins – drugs that contribute to the destruction or stabilization of the size of cholesterol formations. Active ingredients – atorvastatin, strong lovastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin. The main objective of these medicines is to prevent thrombosis. Under the influence of statins in the early stages of vascular atheroma are rapidly destroyed, in the later stages their growth is limited;
- fibrates. They help to reduce the concentration of triglycerides in the blood (neutralize fatty structures), thereby fighting atherosclerotic plaques. Fibrates are contraindicated in functional liver diseases;
- sequestrants that inhibit the synthesis of fatty acids. Contribute to the reduction of lipid absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. The medicine has a good effect in the initial stages and as a prophylactic;
- nicotinic acid preparations. Vitamin PP does not directly affect the synthesis of cholesterol, but has a vasoconstrictor effect, acting as an antispasmodic;
- vitamin complex. Vitamins A, B, C are used to strengthen the body;
- antiplatelet agents for blood thinning.
In advanced forms of cerebral atherosclerosis with the ineffectiveness of the drug method of treatment, the surgical method of treatment is used.
The operation consists in shunting and prosthetics of the affected areas of the arteries.
Clean the vessels of the head and neck need to be comprehensive. Methods of treatment depend on the stage of neglect of the pathological process. In most cases, therapy is carried out by conservative methods. Patients are prescribed drugs that reduce blood viscosity and improve brain tissue nutrition.
If necessary, the use of drugs is required to correct blood pressure and eliminate existing symptomatic manifestations. With atherosclerosis, the patient requires lifelong medication with alternating certain drugs 2-3 times a year. Physiotherapy and a special diet should be included in the scheme of conservative therapy.
The main condition for the effective treatment of atherosclerosis is the use of drugs that limit the absorption of cholesterol from food. With this disease, anion exchange resins are prescribed. This type of drug includes gemfibrozin and cholestyramine.
Plant sorbents can be introduced into the treatment regimen. A striking example of such funds is the drug Guarem. At the same time, these medicines cannot act as the only method of therapy. These drugs, getting into the intestine, begin to absorb fatty acids and cholesterol, so with prolonged use, such drugs can reduce blood lipids. At the same time, these drugs do not affect the already formed stratifications on the walls of blood vessels.
To reduce the risk of severe complications caused by narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels in the brain, drugs are prescribed to stabilize blood pressure. In most cases, angiotensin receptor antagonists are used to eliminate hypertension. To funds of this type include:
Inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme can be used to normalize blood pressure and improve cognitive functions of the brain.
As atherosclerosis progresses, in most cases a decrease in the antioxidant properties of blood plasma is observed. To compensate for this violation, people suffering from vascular atherosclerosis can be prescribed the following drugs:
- Ethyl methylhydroxypyridine succinate.
- Vitamin E.
- Ascorbic acid.
The use of these drugs can reduce the risk of ischemic damage to brain tissue.
With atherosclerosis, drugs are often used that improve the rheological properties of blood, venous outflow and microcirculation. The following drugs are often used:
- Ginkgo biloba extract;
These drugs are used in long courses to normalize cerebral circulation.
To eliminate mental disorders and disorders of the emotional-volitional sphere, drugs related to antidepressants, tranquilizers and psychotropic drugs are selected. Commonly used drugs for atherosclerosis include:
- Phenazepam, etc.
When signs of dementia appear, patients are prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs affect the metabolism of neurotransmitter systems.
Surgical intervention can be prescribed to the patient if, during the diagnosis, an overlap of 70% of the loose lipid coating of the lumen of the main vessel was revealed. When treating atherosclerosis, the following types of interventions are often performed: – stenting of arteries; – prosthetics and bypass grafting; – transluminal angioplasty; – carotid endarterectomy, etc.
The type of necessary surgical intervention is selected individually by the surgeon to the patient.
Non-pharmacological methods of therapy used for atherosclerosis, accompanied by damage to the vessels of the brain, primarily include special therapeutic exercises. The patient needs psychotherapy. A prerequisite for the normalization of the condition is the observance of a sparing diet.
To eliminate lipid deposits in the vessels located in the brain, after consulting a doctor, you can use some folk remedies. The use of infusion of plantain leaves can bring benefits. For the preparation of this tool 1 tbsp. l chopped plant component should be poured with 1 cup boiling water. Insist the remedy for 30 minutes. The finished product should be filtered and taken in small sips throughout the day.
- Statins (lypimar, atoris, zokor, mertinil and others) – reduce blood cholesterol to normal and help atherosclerotic plaques stabilize and not increase in size.
- Fibrates (fenofibrate) – lower triglycerides. Accepted courses, monitoring of treatment after 1-2 months of constant admission.
- Niacin, as well as its derivatives – these drugs can sometimes be used in the treatment of cerebral arteriosclerosis.
- Sequestrants of bile acids (cholestid) are ion-exchange resins, they can bind fatty acids in the intestines and prevent them from being absorbed.
- Ezetemib – prevents the active absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
- Antihypertensive drugs – pills that lower blood pressure. They should be taken daily.
- Antiplatelet agents (thrombo ass, cardiomagnyl) are drugs that help thin the blood, which reduces the risk of blood clots.
- Vitamins of group B, vitamin C, vitamin A – have a general strengthening effect and are related to auxiliary therapy.
After the examination, the attending physician will prescribe the appropriate drugs. The medication will be long enough, and in some cases they will have to be taken for life. Therefore, before taking medications, you need to carefully read the instructions and possible side effects.
Symptoms and consequences of cerebral atherosclerosis
Narrowing the lumen of arteries that feed brain tissue can have extremely negative consequences. The progression of the disease leads to atrophy of nerve fibers and the emergence of chronic mental and emotional disorders. Impaired memory and orientation in space poses a threat to life.
Against the background of atherosclerosis, the appearance of such a complication as epilepsy is possible. With prolonged oxygen deficiency, brain tissue can die. This creates the conditions for the development of ischemic stroke. The consequences of such a malfunction of the brain can significantly affect the quality and life expectancy of the patient.
In places of narrowing of blood vessels, the walls are greatly weakened. Against the background of arterial hypertension, a gap may occur. Cerebral hemorrhage in most cases leads to rapid death.
Prevention of cerebral arteriosclerosis is reduced to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Refusal of addictions, exercise, proper nutrition (so that cholesterol plaques do not appear in the vessels of the brain), regular preventive examinations (especially they are relevant for people after 60 years) – these are the main components, observing that you will never know what atherosclerosis is cerebral vessels, what are its symptoms and treatment.
Any disease is easier to prevent than to treat later. Given the danger of brain atherosclerosis, you need to rethink your lifestyle.
Preventive measures include:
- to give up smoking;
- healthy lifestyle;
- physical activity:
- balanced diet;
- restriction of alcohol intake or refusal of it;
- optimal mode of work and rest.
Atherosclerosis of the cerebral vessels is a dangerous and unpredictable disease. The initial stages may be asymptomatic. Therefore, at the first manifestations, it is important not to postpone the visit to the doctor.
Refusal of bad habits, healthy food and physical activity reduce the risk of illness, allow you to live a full life and maintain health for many years.
Having figured out how to avoid vascular atherosclerosis, you can reduce the risk of severe neurological disorders and complications after 50 years. Prevention of this pathological condition should be from the age of 25. First of all, it is necessary to abandon smoking and taking alcohol, since it is not possible to prevent vascular atherosclerosis without this.
To reduce the risk of developing this pathological condition, it is necessary to prevent the appearance of excess fat. To do this, you need to eat right and actively deal with physical inactivity. It is advisable at a young age to acquire the habit of regularly doing morning exercises.
If possible, strong emotional shocks should be avoided. It is advisable to set aside several hours for daytime sleep. It is recommended to often ventilate the room. After reaching 40 years, a person needs to undergo scheduled examinations to identify any deviations in the state of health and their timely treatment.
To resume the function of arteries and blood vessels, the doctor prescribes effective medicines:
- statin drugs (Zokor, Atoris), which lower cholesterol and prevent an increase in atherosclerotic plaque;
- pressure pills;
- antiplatelet agents (Cardiomagnyl, Thrombo ACC) blood thinners and reduce the risk of thrombosis;
- fibrates (fenofibrate) – drugs that reduce the content of triglycerides, the duration of administration is 1-2 months;
- Cholecystide – a drug that prevents the absorption of fatty acids in the intestine;
- Ezetemib – a drug that interferes with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine;
- Vitamin and mineral complexes to restore the body’s defenses.
With narrowing of the arteries by more than 70%, surgical intervention (removal of a thrombus) is prescribed. It is also necessary to follow a diet that excludes the intake of foods containing high cholesterol.
The prognosis of the disease is favorable with the timely start of treatment. Despite the fact that the treatment of atherosclerosis is life-long, this is not a sentence.
Provided that up to 30 years of compliance with the basic rules of prevention – sports, balanced nutrition and stress avoidance, the disease will bypass a person.
The most effective means of preventing brain atherosclerosis is diet, giving up bad habits and an active lifestyle. It will be useful for people predisposed to this disease to exclude foods containing cholesterol, replace animal fats with vegetable fats, include dairy products, low-fat meat, vegetables and fruits in the diet. It is necessary to limit the intake of salty, fatty, rich and fried foods.
It will be useful to include such products as seaweed, legumes, cauliflower, nuts and raisins, eggplant, quince, grapefruit, ripe cherries and watermelons in the diet.
The prognosis of the course of the disease depends on the stage of neglect of the process, the timeliness of the start of treatment and the individual characteristics of the patient’s body. In approximately 5-7% of patients, this pathology does not lead to the appearance of severe symptoms and severe complications. In 50% of people over 60 years of age without directed treatment, atherosclerosis of the intracerebral vessels causes the development of ischemic stroke due to separation of the clot and a sharp narrowing of the lumen of the blood vessels.
In patients who have crossed the 65-year age limit, this pathological condition often provokes transient or chronic disturbances in cerebral circulation. With the timely start of treatment, the prognosis for this disease is favorable.
The statistical data on the disease of cerebral arteriosclerosis are as follows:
- In 50-60% of patients aged 40 to 55 years, the symptoms of the disease end with ischemic stroke due to a sharp narrowing of one large vessel. The consequences for 45 – 55% of them are deep disability or death.
- About 80% of patients with cerebral arteriosclerosis over 65 years of age suffer from chronic or transient disorders of cerebral circulation. 30% of them subsequently experience a stroke.
- In 5-7% of people, the disease is asymptomatic and has no consequences.
These data indicate that the younger the symptoms of atherosclerosis appear, the worse the consequences and the worse the prognosis. If the problem is detected at an early stage, in 30–45% of cases it can be solved by endovascular surgical treatment. In people after 60 years, vasoconstriction is loose in nature – in 80% of cases, drug treatment improves blood supply to the brain.
It should be understood that cerebral atherosclerosis is classified as a chronic disease, so treatment is most often life-long. Depending on how timely the diagnosis was made and treatment started, the prognosis will also depend.
In the practice of neurologists, extensive forms of cerebral arteriosclerosis are known, which, nevertheless, allowed people not only to live for a long time, but also to remain functional. However, there are frequent cases when the first clinical manifestation of this disease results in a stroke and death for a person.
Therefore, doctors play such an important role in the timely diagnosis of the disease and its qualified treatment.
To reduce the risk of developing this pathological condition and in the treatment of atherosclerosis, it is necessary to follow a special diet. From the diet, it is necessary to completely exclude all foods that are high in cholesterol. Do not eat fast food, convenience foods, pickles, smoked meats, offal, rich broths, pastries and sweets. Recommended products include:
- fresh and boiled vegetables and fruits;
- low-fat varieties of meat and fish;
- olive and vegetable oil;
- dried fruits;
- low-fat dairy products.
It is necessary to eat food in small portions 5-6 times a day. Dishes should be boiled or stewed. It is necessary to observe the correct drinking regimen. 1,5-2 liters of pure water should be consumed per day. This will reduce the risk of blood thickening and the formation of stratifications on the walls of blood vessels.
The success and effectiveness of the treatment of atherosclerosis is directly dependent on diet. Most often, overweight people are affected by this disease. To avoid complications of the course of the disease and accelerate recovery, you need to make a diet a lifestyle in nutrition.
High cholesterol foods should be excluded from the diet:
- Fatty meat and fish;
- Alcoholic drinks
- Chocolate, cakes, muffin, 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 use liquid fats of vegetable origin. Especially useful are oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega group: Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9. They are rich in linseed and olive oil. Despite the high calorie content, these products help to cleanse and strengthen blood vessels, restore their elasticity, and normalize metabolic processes.