What is Brain Ischemia?

Illustration of the cause of a transient ischemic attack
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Definition:

Brain ischemia, also known as cerebral ischemia or cerebrovascular ischemia, occurs when there is an insufficient amount of blood supply to the brain. This leads to a lowered oxygen supply to the brain, or cerebral hypoxia. This causes brain tissue to die, also known as a cerebral infarction or ischemic stroke.

Symptoms of Brain Ischemia

The symptoms of brain ischemia can range from mild to severe.

They can last from a few seconds to a few minutes for a period of time. If the brain becomes damaged as a result, the symptoms may become permanent.

Symptoms of brain ischemia include the following:

  • Erratic body movement
  • Unconsciousness
  • Blindness in one eye
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Body weakness on one or both sides of the body

Types of Brain Ischemia

Brain ischemia, can be categorized into thrombotic, embolic and hypoperfusion.

Focal ischemia is confined to a specific area of the brain. It usually occurs when a blood clot has blocked a cerebral vessel. It can be caused by thrombosis or embolism

Global ischemia affects a wider area of the brain and usually occurs when the blood supply to the brain has been drastically reduced or stops. This is typically caused by a cardiac arrest.

Causes of Brain Ischemia

Brain ischemia is linked to many different diseases or irregularities. They may include the following:

Treatment of Brain Ischemia

Treatment of brain ischemia may include using the same medication used for ischemic stroke. The intravenous medication, Alteplase (tPA), administered within three hours of diagnosis has been shown to improve the medical outcome of the patient.

Anticonvulsants may also be prescribed to avoid seizures.

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