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What Is Cerebral Hypoperfusion?

Cerebral palsy can be caused by cerebral hypoperfusion.
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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2014
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Cerebral hypoperfusion is a medical condition wherein the brain experiences a decrease of blood supply. It is often associated with cerebral hypoxia, in which the brain receives an insufficient supply of oxygen carried by the blood. Medically speaking, cerebral hypoperfusion is the opposite of cerebral hyperperfusion, an increase of blood flow in the brain that can cause a hemorrhage.

Some symptoms of cerebral hypoperfusion are dizziness, hearing difficulties, and vision problems such as blurring, dimming, or a total “blackout." If the condition persists, the patient may also sweat excessively, turn pale, and have nausea that makes him feel like vomiting. In severe cases, loss of consciousness may occur.

In other disorders or conditions, cerebral hypoperfusion can be a cause, such as in strokes and cerebral palsy. In strokes, the loss of blood results in a decreased activity in some parts of the brain that control limb movements, vision, or speech; thus a person experiencing a stroke is often immobilized. In cerebral palsy, the hypoperfusion often happens during pregnancy or in early childhood, specifically in the part of the brain that controls motor activity. As a result, patients with cerebral palsy are often physically disabled, as the insufficient blood supply causes permanent damage to a developing brain.

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Cerebral hypoperfusion can also be experienced as a symptom or an effect of an underlying disorder. Such is the case in postural tachycardia syndrome (PTS) that causes a reduction of blood supply in the brain when the patient changes from one position to another. Hypoperfusion experienced in PTS can affect a patient’s cognition and even his emotions, leading to decreased concentration and a depressive state. A type of hypotension called orthostatic hypotension, or head rush in layman’s term, also causes many symptoms associated with cerebral hypoperfusion like dizziness and visual impairment. Aside from the brain, muscles and other organs can also experience hypoperfusion, felt as neck pains, tightness of chest, and difficulty in breathing.

Many studies have shown that there may be a connection between cerebral hypoperfusion and diseases that weaken a patient’s cognitive skills. In 2005, a study recruited groups of “elderly subjects”: one group of subjects had Alzheimer’s disease, while the other group was labeled “cognitively normal.” Both groups were given magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Results from the scans showed that those with Alzheimer’s exhibited substantial hypoperfusion on the right side of the brain as compared to those who are cognitively normal. In 1994, an experiment involving rats revealed that chronic hypoperfusion may produce more neuronal damage than acute hypoperfusion.

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Discuss this Article

Phoenix4Ever
Post 6

Try looking up thiamine and autonomic nervous system for a study published on October 1, 2012. It's a thiamine deficiency. I used to have POTS syndrome and still do, but now after supplementing with a bio-actively available form of thiamine everyday such as benfotiamine, I no longer pass out and have racing bouts of tachycardia in my heart.

anon339764
Post 4

The best way to get a diagnoses, and also the way I got mine, is through a SPECT scan.

anon336045
Post 3

I have Celiac. I get seizures during the night. They have decreased in frequency, but have been observed and I am told they are grand mal. I wake from a sound sleep. My eyes turn upward and to the right. My head slowly turns to the right. I start frothing at the mouth and am unable to swallow or call for help. I lose consciousness and wake with the right side of my tongue severely bitten.

On an everyday basis, I have experienced problems with speech and with clarity of thought and memory. Once or twice I have experienced odd loss of emotions, like laughter and tears for no reason. They clear up quickly.

MRIs have been taken but only weeks after a seizure occurs. They show some vein abnormalities in the right temporal lobe, but these do not seem to have changed over the past two or three years.

Is there something I can ask my doctor to check to come to a diagnosis on this?

anon331727
Post 2

You need a tilt test to determine this. A Neuro doctor will be able to perform it to determine if it is p.o.t.s.

anon295930
Post 1

I'm 15 and I think I have this. Do I have autonomic dysfunction? I took an MRI and it was normal. No one can understand how I am feeling in this state. I don't know what to do.

I get home from school every day and sleep two or three hours. I can't concentrate on school anymore. It's getting hard and I am in top classes. Simple tasks in school are so tiring to my brain. How do I seek help or is there a diagnosis for this?

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