Toxic encephalopathy of the brain: consequences, symptoms

One of the serious complications of alcohol poisoning, drugs or toxic substances is toxic encephalopathy. If nausea vomiting and hyperthermia can quickly eliminate drugs, the death of brain cells stop does not always work. The disease sometimes occurs as a result of the development of other, more dangerous diseases in the human body, which flows secretly. Fatigue, migraines and emotional instability should be a signal for treatment to the doctor.

Causes of toxic encephalopathy

Throughout life a person repeatedly experiences the symptoms of intoxication as result of careless handling of toxic substances or improper storage. After the removal of toxins from the body, the victim's condition is improving: normalizes activity of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, kidneys and liver. But there are hidden consequences that the person often does not bind with the recent poisoning.

You should pay attention to sudden changes in the behavior of family members, difficult have undergone recent intoxication chemical substances. They had encephalopathy of the brain that requires long-term treatment.

Toxic encephalopathy of the brain – a violation of the functioning of brain tissue due to degenerative changes under the influence of intoxicants. Such compounds include:

  • ethyl and methyl alcohol;
  • potassium permanganate;
  • mercury, lead, arsenic;
  • carbon monoxide, gasoline fumes;
  • pharmacological drugs;
  • drugs;
  • heavy metals.

The disease develops when the ingestion of the human body household chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, plant growth stimulants. The death of brain cells occurs in addicts and alcoholics after several months of use of toxic substances. If a pregnant woman is abusing alcohol or drugs, the newborn doctors often diagnose acute toxic encephalopathy.


Pathology can flow for a long time asymptomatic. Due to insufficient supply to the brain cells molecular oxygen is their death. The person is not able to notice such changes and withdraws irritability and drowsiness, fatigue or aggravation of chronic disease.

Encephalopathy of toxic etiology is common in adults and very young children. The occurrence of the disease in a child the most dangerous since his body has not yet formed. High vascular permeability, enhanced metabolism of children contributes to the accelerated progression of the disease.

Getting into the gastro-intestinal tract of humans, a toxic substance associated with the protein in the blood and spreads throughout the body. With the help of the liver and kidneys, a large part of poisons rendered harmless and excreted in the feces and urine. Only prolonged exposure to toxins can cause serious damage to internal organs. After a short time to restore the damaged cells and tissues, their functional activity resumes.

Completely different toxins affect the human brain. Tying the red blood cells, they block the blood flow to its tissues. Insufficient blood flow affects all parts of the brain – after a few minutes, irreversible death of the cells. Especially suffer from a deficiency of molecular oxygen:

  • white matter;
  • gray matter.

When there is a destruction of cells in one area of the cerebral cortex, it occurs swelling, loss of the ability to regulate. Unfortunately, to repair the damaged areas is impossible, there is a strong intoxication of the brain. A person is able to live a long life, regularly taking a stimulant and anti-anxiety medications.

The types of toxic encephalopathy

There are many classifications of the disease depending on the course of disease, symptoms and method of diagnosis. One of them describes the factors that cause oxygen starvation of the brain cells: exogenous and endogenous.

Exogenous toxic encephalopathy occurs in contact with poisonous substances inside of the human body from the environment. The development of the pathology occurs in the following cases:

  1. The abuse of alcohol, drugs, drugs.
  2. The careless handling of products containing toxic compounds.
  3. For violation of rules of storage of poisonous chemicals.
  4. In case of accident in industrial production.
  5. In chronic poisoning by toxins that is associated with the specificity of the profession.

Toxic encephalopathy is often diagnosed in residents of the cities and areas located near large industrial complexes, plants for processing secondary raw materials, waste incineration plants. In spite of the treatment facilities in the air can throw an increased amount of toxic substances: arsenic, mercury, chlorine.

Endogenous encephalopathy of toxic Genesis develops in the body of disease causing, increased or reduced production ofbiologically active steroids. The main reason for the improper production of hormones are pathology of the endocrine system:

  • diabetes mellitus;
  • diseases of the adrenal glands;
  • dysfunction of the thyroid gland.

A lack or excess of hormones leads to changes in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In tissues and cells accumulate a huge amount of toxins formed by incorrect metabolism. From the blood stream they spread throughout the body, disrupt the process of brain blood supply and cause cell death in white and gray matter.

Stage toxic encephalopathy

Depending on the duration of exposure to the toxin in the organs of hematopoiesis intoxication encephalopathy is divided into the stage of the disease:

  1. In the acute stage. Intoxication develops in a single flow of poison into the body. The death of brain cells occurs immediately after absorption of the toxin in blood and linking it to the protein bodies. Characterized by extensive lesion of the membranes of the various parts of the brain and bright symptomatic. The victim has convulsions of the upper and lower limbs, dizziness, loss of consciousness.
  2. Chronic stage. The danger of this disease lies in the absence of the characteristic poisoning symptoms. Rare headaches or increased fatigue man does not associate with poisoning. Usually, the pathology is revealed by accident, when the diagnosis of another disease with computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.

Sometimes toxic encephalopathy reveal the results of biochemical tests in the diagnosis of inflammation. The main indicator is the concentration of white and red blood cells, indicating changes in composition of the blood under the influence of external or internal factors.

If the cause of death of brain cells is a congenital or acquired disease is maintenance therapy with a pharmacological already at the stage of diagnosis. If poisoning poisonous substances pathology is detected only at the stage of extensive damage to parts of the brain.

Physicians when drug therapy is divided encephalopathy of toxic etiology for the number trapped inside the body of the chemical and the duration of its stay in the gastrointestinal tract:

  1. Easy degree. The symptoms expressed only slightly, the poison was quickly removed from the body, a favorable prognosis for recovery.
  2. The average degree. The poison was in the body for more than an hour, happened suction a small part. Treatment of toxic encephalopathy was done on time.
  3. Heavy degree. Any dangerous signs of intoxication, most of the poison has had time to absorb the gastric mucosa, penetrate into the bloodstream. The possible death of many brain cells.

Ingestion of the human body some toxic substances (mercury vapor, arsenic, methyl alcohol) is capable of after a few minutes to cause extensive encephalopathy. Nerve impulses from various vital systems don't get an answer and stop functioning. Death of a person.

The symptoms of toxic encephalopathy

When the diagnosis of the disease, difficulties arise in connection with the common symptoms of a toxic encephalopathy. But there are individual symptoms of poisoning the most common toxins that should be considered in more detail.

Alcoholic encephalopathy

Alcoholic encephalopathy in the acute form occurs against a background of prolonged abuse of alcohol. The person violated motor function, there is a tremor of upper and lower extremities, muscle weakness. The victim sees extraneous images, raves, leads to a long conversation. He may experience increased aggression towards others, emotional instability.

In people, this condition is called delirium tremens. Alcoholic encephalopathy is extremely dangerous both for the patient and his family members. The victim is not conscious of their actions can harm themselves and other people.

This disease requires immediate hospitalization in a specialized hospital, as a few days can be fatal. Often the person refuses to eat and drink, he develops persistent dehydration, the urine becomes dark brown in color. Death can occur as a result of a fall from a violation of the integrity of the temporal bone or the development of infectious-inflammatory focus.

The chronic form of alcoholic encephalopathy in the final stage leads to personal degradation and dementia – nearly all brain cells have undergone permanent deformation. The use of ethyl alcohol daily leads to psychological changes:

  1. Deteriorating memory, reduced attention, appears unfounded anxiety.
  2. Diagnosed minor hand tremors, unsteadiness of gait, insomnia.
  3. The person feels fatigue, depression, apathy.

It is at this stage toxic encephalopathy, many people commit suicide. This contributes to depression,a feeling of complete hopelessness. As a rule, relatives disparagingly refer to this as blaming the person in sticking to bad habits.

Drug encephalopathy

Not many people know that regular pills, often leads to the development of drug encephalopathy. He refers to drugs causing dependence and persistent addiction. Such pharmacological agents include:

  • barbiturates;
  • antipsychotics;
  • antidepressants;
  • tranquilizers;
  • drugs from insomnia.

Drugs are also a cause of this type of encephalopathy. An overdose of narcotics leads to significant death of brain cells. Communicating with the red blood cells, the toxins block the normal functioning of the organs of hematopoiesis. All the parts of the brain lack of molecular oxygen – cell death begins to occur after only 5 minutes after narcotic intoxication.

Symptoms of drug and narcotic TEP is similar due to the same principle of action on brain cells. It's the migraines, night headaches, dizziness, loss of coordination in space, deterioration of vision and hearing.

Drug toxic encephalopathy often affects people with chronic diseases in anamnesis. To preserve the normal rhythm of life they have for a long time to take glucocorticoids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormonal steroids. A large part of the active substances excreted in the feces and urine, and minor deposits in the tissues. Over time, the concentration of toxins increases, they enter into chemical reaction with blood cells.

A person experiences the following symptoms:

  1. Occurs psychomotor agitation alternating with drowsiness, apathy, lethargy.
  2. Disrupted the digestive tract, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, sour belching.
  3. Increased renal blood pressure, causing hypertension.
  4. The abuse of hypnotics medicines pressure often falls to life-threatening indicators.
  5. In the acute form of encephalopathy occurs respiratory depression, decrease in heart rate, loss of consciousness.

Signs of chronic encephalopathy manifested after a few months of regular revenues in the blood of toxic compounds. Especially dangerous is the disease caused by the use of means that cause drug or drug dependence. A small excess of the dose of the drug will lead to extensive damage of brain cells.

Encephalopathy caused by chemicals

The symptoms of toxic encephalopathy may vary depending on the way of penetration of the toxin inside the body. The most dangerous are pairs of chemical compounds. When you inhale a poisonous substance, immediately fall on the mucous membranes of the larynx, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract. A few minutes after intoxication in the blood is detected elevated concentrations of toxins associated with red blood cells.

Death from chemical encephalopathy may occur a few minutes after inhalation of mercury vapor, chlorine or arsenic dust. In such cases, does not help even a quick introduction of antitoxin.

Once ingested, stomach chemicals symptoms of encephalopathy appear within 30 minutes:

  • nausea, vomiting;
  • sweating, chills, hyperthermia;
  • pallor of the skin;
  • tremor of the limbs;
  • hypotension;
  • reduced visual acuity, poor hearing;
  • dizziness, fainting.

With increasing suction of the poison is the gradual destruction of brain cells due to the lack of blood molecular oxygen. If you do not stop the penetration of the poison, the possible severe consequences and even be fatal.

First aid for toxic encephalopathy

To help people can only doctor, so should immediately call an ambulance. While waiting for the doctor should:

  1. To control the spread of toxins should call the victim vomiting. 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in a liter of water and give drink to man. Induce vomiting to discharge from the stomach of pure water.
  2. To lay the victim, to talk, to try to he was conscious.
  3. To give the man any adsorbent.

Prevents toxic encephalopathy is safety when handling toxic substances. Improper storage often leads to intoxication of young children. Pesticides should be stored in an inaccessible place and locked up.