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Encephalopathy Definition

Encephalopathy can be defined as a disease that affects the function or structure of your brain. There are many types of encephalopathy and brain disease. Out of these, some may be permanent, while others may be just temporary; some are present at birth, while others may be acquired after birth and may get worse as one grows up.

The types of encephalopathy include:

  • Glycine encephalopathy
  • Hashimoto’s encephalopathy
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Hypertensive encephalopathy
  • Hypoxic encephalopathy
  • Lyme encephalopathy
  • Static encephalopathy
  • Toxic-metabolic encephalopathy
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
  • Uremic encephalopathy
  • Wernicke encephalopathy

Encephalopathy Symptoms

Since encephalopathy is a condition affecting the brain, its symptoms are neurological. Usual signs and symptoms of encephalopathy include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty problem-solving
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trembling
  • Seizures
  • Involuntary twitching
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor decision-making power
  • Muscle weakness in one area

If you have any/some/all of the above symptoms, prompt medical attention is advised.

Encephalopathy Risk factors

The risk factors of encephalopathy are still not completely known, but you may be at risk of a neurological disorder if:

  • You have cardiovascular disease
  • Have a liver condition
  • Have diabetes
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have a tendency to develop blood clots
  • Have been exposed to poisonous substances such as carbon dioxide
  • Have cancer and have undergone chemotherapy
  • Consume excessive alcohol and harmful drugs

Encephalopathy Diagnosis

In order to diagnose encephalopathy, your doctor will ask you questions based on your medical history and your symptoms. He/she may also perform a general medical exam to check for mental and neurological symptoms.

If your doctor comes up with a diagnosis of encephalopathy, he/she may conduct tests to determine the causes and severity of this condition. These tests may include:

  • Spinal tap (which requires a sample of spinal fluid)
  • Blood tests to detect diseases, bacteria, viruses, toxins
  • MRI scan
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) test

Encephalopathy Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe treatment for encephalopathy depending on what caused it. Based on this, treatment may consist of medication or surgery to treat the underlying cause. Your doctor may recommend nutritional supplements to slow the damage to your brain. He may also prescribe a special diet to treat any other underlying causes.

Read more about our treatments for Neurological conditions Click here

UPDATED ON 14/05/2024

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