Authored by Ceetee Sheckels in Diseases
Published on 10-22-2009
Meningitis can result in permanent, serious medical problems. It can also be deadly. This is why a suspected case of meningitis must be immediately brought to the attention of a physician. Diagnostic tests will be performed to determine whether the person does have meningitis, and treatment begun if this is the diagnosis. This condition occurs when the membranes which protect the brain become inflamed. It also affects the spinal cord.
For adults, the main symptoms of meningitis include the onset of a severe, sudden headache, and stiffness in the neck which prevents it from moving easily. The majority of meningitis cases in adults consist of these symptoms being present. He may also experience confusion, an increased sensitivity to light which was not present before, vomiting, and a fever. These symptoms, either individually or together, should be evaluated by a doctor.
Although meningitis can strike babies and young children, it is not as easy to detect. Their symptoms are often different, as well as the factor of children not being able to communicate what they are experiencing. While bacterial meningitis may include a rash, a general sense of poor health and mood are often the only indicators. In cases of a baby whose “soft spot” has not yet closed, this part of the head may bulge. The child may also experience discolorations of the skin.
Bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis are the two most common forms of this condition. There are a number of different types of bacteria and viruses which can cause meningitis. In addition, there is a third form of meningitis which is known as noninfectious meningitis. It can be caused by a number of different medications, as well as some health conditions. As each of these types of meningitis stem from different causes, they will not all respond to the same kind of treatment. There is a specific treatment appropriate for each.
There are some standard diagnostic tests available for when meningitis is suspected. The lumbar puncture is a test which is used to evaluate the cerebrospinal fluid. Blood cultures and blood tests are also necessary when testing for meningitis. In some cases, it is necessary to perform an imaging scan prior to conducting the lumbar puncture.
Although nearly all of these symptoms of meningitis may indicate other, less serious conditions, it is essential to not waste any time when these symptoms are present. In many cases, a prompt diagnosis and beginning treatment immediately can result in a higher chance of survival and return to health. On the other hand, if treatment is delayed, there is a much greater chance that the person will either die or suffer with numerous repercussions for the rest of his life. The child who survives meningitis when it was not promptly treated may experience developmental disabilities, deafness, epilepsy, and other problems. This is why it is in the interest of a person’s life and future health to consult a physician immediately if you suspect that you or a member of your family may have developed meningitis.