Cerebral Edema occurs when there is an accumulation of fluids in the brain cells; this causes inflammation. Brain tissue is one of the most severe areas where this disorder can occur.
Cerebral Edema swollen soft tissues, damaging and causing pain in the patient, Cerebral Edema. This condition causes an increase in the pressure inside the skull, causing a lack of oxygenation and cellular degeneration that can cause death.
Types of Brain Edema
Cytotoxic edema, fluid accumulates in the cells, causing inflammation. Generally, it's caused by a malfunction of the sodium/potassium pumps and the channels through which fluid enters and leaves the cells.
Vasogenic edema is the typical type of Cerebral Edema, originating as a consequence of an increased penetrability of the nervous system, due to the rupture of the blood-brain barrier. (Stroke, Brain-Tumor, and traumatic brain injuries, among others).
Hydrocephalic or interstitial edema, the channels through which the cerebrospinal fluid passes are blocked, causing inflammation of the cerebral ventricles or the areas near the blocked area.
Hyponatremia occurs when the level of sodium in the blood is abnormally low
Hypoxia, when insufficient oxygen reaches the brain, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function
Bacterial or virus infections (meningitis and encephalitis)
Poisoning or poisoning
Head trauma, caused by severe blows to the head, such as a car accident (Brain-Contusion)
Tumors, either benign or malignant
We can identify different symptoms, but here we group the most common:
Nausea and vomiting
Dizziness or Vertigo
Trouble with talking and walking
Changes in the respiratory rhythm
Loss of consciousness and could even lead to a coma in severe cases
Diagnosis of Cerebral Edema
The Neurosurgeon will perform exams, tests, and questions based on your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history.
We group some of the possible tests that could be carried out:
Blood tests allow detecting the cause of inflammation
CT Scan or CAT Scan, allows obtaining internal images of the patient, which, linked with data from their clinical history, generates an accurate diagnosis
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) allows you to obtain edema and know what type it belongs to more clearly
Treatment of Cerebral Edema
The treatment provided will be according to the severity and type of Cerebral Edema.
For Cerebral Edema, it is necessary to act immediately to avoid permanent damage to the patient's brain. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate the liquid and, at the same time, seek to reduce inflammation, thus achieving that the brain operates correctly without any problem and with some normality. Only in severe cases, emergency surgery is necessary, in which excess fluid is drained, and pressure and inflammation of the brain are controlled. Failure to take treatment can cause serious problems or even death.
Common treatment options include:
Controlled hyperventilation, supplies oxygen through a respirator and other means
Hypothermia, low body temperature, this helps to deflate the brain
Osmotherapy helps decrease water in brain tissues
Corticosteroids, a medicine used to reduce intracranial pressure in vasogenic edema
Barbiturates, sedative drugs, help decrease intracranial pressure (its use is not recommended for all patients)
Surgical interventions, in severe cases, where the patient may die or suffer a stroke
Living with Cerebral Edema
Following the treatment provided by your Neurosurgeon and leading a healthy lifestyle could help improve quality of life.
Here are the most common recommendations:
Go to recovery therapy
Do not smoke
Don't drink alcohol excessively
Maintain a healthy weight
Eat fruits and vegetables
Maintain a low-salt diet
In the case of noticing some swelling of the arms and legs, it is advisable to raise them
¿When to see a Doctor?
It is essential to consult a Neurosurgery specialist to diagnose Cerebral Edema and start a treatment that helps you control symptoms.
When consulting your Neurosurgeon, try to record your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking.
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