Meningitis - The inflammation of your brain!
Our brain is surrounded by the delicate and sensitive membranes, protecting the brain and spinal cord. These membranes can get damaged and cause the corresponding symptoms whenever any infection occurs within the brain. When the bacterial or viral infection is proliferated in your meninges (protective coverings) and causes the inflammation, this condition is referred to as Meningitis.
It’s a rare disorder and has no age limit. However, more cases have been reported in teenagers, babies, young adults and young children. The sooner it is discovered, the better the prognosis and recovery are. If left untreated, it can lead to the septicemia, leaving the drastic and permanent damage to your nerves or even brain. If recently diagnosed with meningitis, get the medical attention right away.
Types of Meningitis
According to its cause, meningitis is divided into three main types: bacterial, fungal and viral. Bacterial meningitis can be transmitted to others through close contact and it can be life-threatening. Those who have a poor immune system are more prone to getting fungal meningitis- rare form of meningitis. The viral meningitis is not extremely severe and people often get full recovery after starting the treatment. As the symptoms of each type vary from each other, the medical screening is crucial at this point. Additionally, some vaccinations are also available against the suspected pathogens.
Other Causes of Meningitis
Despite the above-listed causes being the major ones, some of the other causes also contribute in developing the meningitis. They develop in brain, eyes, throat and sinuses along with other parts of your body. Here are some of the less common causes of meningitis:
- • Tuberculosis
- • Syphilis
- • Cancer medications
- • Autoimmune disorders
- • Fungal infections
The classic symptoms of Meningitis
TThough, every type would have unique set of clinical features, you should know what the alarming signs are. You’re either suffering from viral or bacterial meningitis. If you’re experiencing most of the symptoms listed bellow, you should get help immediately:
- • Vomiting
- • Severe Headache
- • Fever, cold hands and feet
- • Drowsy
- • Pale or blotchy skin
- • Stiff neck
- • Confusion or irritability
- • Seizures
- • Problems in facing bright lights
Diagnoses of Meningitis
It’s very challenging to accurately make the final diagnosis of which type of meningitis is the main cause. The identification of microorganism, assessment of CNS infection rather treatable or not, and early treatment administration are playing the key role in formulating the diagnoses. The investigation measures of meningitis are:
- • Complete Blood Count
- • Serum Glucose
- • Serum Urea Nitrogen
- • Serum Electrolytes
- • Syphilis testing
- • Lumbar puncture with CSF analyses
- • Serum procalcitonin testing
- • Skin lesion cultures
- • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) detection assays
- • MRI of the brain or CT scan of the head
TThe purpose of treatment is to find out the microorganism and then proceed to the treatment. Bacterial meningitis can become critical if the treatment doesn’t start as soon as possible.
The symptoms will guide the treatment strategy. Antibiotics, plenty of fluids, bed rest and over-the-counter medications are given to make the condition of a person better. In some case, meningitis may not need any treatment and it resolves by itself over time.
In a study published in Pediatric Transplantation Journal, it has been confirmed that a 19-year old boy got nearly full recovery along with infection control, when received the allogenic stem cell transplantation. Stem cells can divide and promote the healing mechanisms. In this way, stem cell therapy is highly effective for meningitis.
Depending on what’s the main cause, the prognosis could be good or bad. Earlier administration of the suggested medicines and other therapeutic modalities can lead to better results.