What are the symptoms of cerebral atrophy?

Symptoms of cerebral atrophy can be generalized (affecting the whole brain) or localized (affecting only one part of the brain or one function). Generalized symptoms include symptoms of dementia, such as problems with memory or changes in personality. Localized symptoms include seizures and problems with speech, vision or movement.

Generalized symptoms of cerebral atrophy

Generalized symptoms of cerebral atrophy arise from loss of brain cells throughout the brain. You may experience cerebral atrophy symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Changes in mood, personality or behavior
  • Difficulty with judgment or abstract thinking
  • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading
  • Disorientation
  • Learning impairments

Localized symptoms of cerebral atrophy

If cerebral atrophy arises from loss of brain cells in a specific area of the brain, you may have localized symptoms including:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty producing or understanding speech (aphasia)
  • Impaired balance and coordination
  • Localized weakness, loss of sensation, or paralysis

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, cerebral atrophy can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Being a danger to oneself or others, including behavior that is threatening, irrational or suicidal
  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
  • Seizure
  • Sudden change in vision, loss of vision, or eye pain

What is cerebral atrophy?

Cerebral atrophy refers to the progressive loss of brain cells over time. Atrophy refers to a decreased size or wasting away of any part of the body. Cerebral atrophy can happen in either the entire brain or in just one part of the brain and can lead to decreased brain mass and loss of neurological function. The symptoms of cerebral atrophy depend on the cause and location of cell death. Read more about cerebral atrophyintroduction


What causes cerebral atrophy?

Cerebral atrophy can arise from many diseases of the brain, injury to the brain, or infection of the brain.

Injury causes of cerebral atrophy

Death of brain cells may occur as a result of injury to the brain including:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury

Diseases that may cause cerebral atrophy

Cerebral atrophy may... Read more about cerebral atrophycauses


How is cerebral atrophy treated?

There is no cure for cerebral atrophy. Once brain cells have been lost, the damage is permanent. Treatment for cerebral atrophy focuses on treating the symptoms and complications of cerebral atrophy.

Treatment for dementia and loss-of-function symptoms of cerebral atrophy

Treatments for dementia symptoms of cerebral atrophy include medications and nonmedication therapie... Read more about cerebral atrophytreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves