Encephalitis Treatment in Bristol, VA
What Is Encephalitis?
Encephalitis is a rare but serious condition characterized by acute inflammation of brain tissue. It is most often triggered by a viral infection; however, parasitic or bacterial infections may also be to blame, along with a list of other potential causes.
There are two major types of encephalitis: primary and secondary. Primary encephalitis occurs when a virus or other condition directly infects your brain. Secondary encephalitis, also referred to as post-infection encephalitis, occurs as a result of an infection somewhere else in your body; your immune system reacts inappropriately and mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your brain.
Encephalitis treatment is important, as symptoms can rapidly worsen and lead to other health complications, such as seizures or memory loss. To schedule an appointment with a healthcare practitioner in Bristol who specializes in brain inflammation treatment, call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
The etiology of encephalitis is not completely understood. The disease typically manifests due to a viral infection. The most common viruses that lead to encephalitis include:
- Arboviruses (viruses carried by insects), such as the West Nile virus from mosquitoes or the Powassan virus from ticks
- Childhood viruses, such as measles and rubella
- Common viruses, such as herpes simplex , HIV , and Epstein-Barr
Your risk for developing encephalitis increases if you are a young child, an older adult, or have a weakened immune system. Encephalitis risk also increases during the summertime—when mosquito- and tick-borne diseases are more prevalent—and in certain geographical regions.
Mild, flu-like symptoms are most commonly reported with encephalitis, such as body aches, headache, fever, and weakness or fatigue. Other encephalitis symptoms include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Agitation or anxiety
- Hearing problems
- Memory issues
- Personality changes
- Muscle weakness
Children may experience additional symptoms, including irritability, nausea or vomiting, abnormalities or bulges in infant soft spots, and stiffness.
In severe cases, signs of encephalitis may include seizures, hallucinations, loss of sensation on the body or face, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms require immediate medical attention to prevent permanent complications. In rare cases, inflammation of the brain can lead to coma or death.
To arrive at an encephalitis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough physical examination, take a full medical history, and review your symptoms.
Your provider may also perform the following diagnostic tests:
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture): a needle is inserted into your lower back to extract a sample of spinal fluid, also known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Changes in this fluid can indicate the presence of a virus or other infection.
- Imaging test of the brain, like an MRI or CT scan: energy waves analyze the brain and check for swelling, as well as other causes of symptoms, such as tumors or a stroke.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): electrodes, attached to your scalp, measure the electrical signals within your brain and detect abnormal signals.
- Blood and urine tests: check for bacteria, viruses, and the immune cells made in response to infections.
Encephalitis Treatment Options
To properly treat encephalitis, the underlying cause of the condition must be identified. If a bacterial infection causes your symptoms, treatment will likely involve antibiotics. A viral infection may be treated with anti-viral medication, along with anti-convulsant or anti-inflammatory medications depending on your symptoms. Bed rest, hydration, IV fluids, and even breathing assistance may also be necessary. If complications occur, physical, speech and occupational therapy may be required long-term, along with psychotherapy to address possible personality changes.
If you are suffering from symptoms of encephalitis, it is essential that you seek the guidance of an experienced, professional healthcare provider. Request more information today about the health conditions that can cause encephalitis and available treatments. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
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