What is encephalitis? By best spine surgeon in Gurgaon
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain’s active tissues caused by an infection or an inflammatory reaction. The inflammation causes the brain to swell, resulting in headaches, stiff neck, light sensitivity, mental confusion, and seizures. Book your appointment with Dr.Arun who is the best spine surgeon in Gurgaon.
Causes and Symptoms of Encephalitis
Infections or autoimmune diseases that cause the body’s immune systems to invade the brain may both cause encephalitis. Even after intensive research, the exact cause of encephalitis remains uncertain in approximately 30–40% of cases.
Encephalitis cases are likely to increase further as more autoimmune triggers are identified. Emerging infections like Zika, chikungunya, and Powassan viruses may also play a role in this pattern.
Infectious Encephalitis is a form of encephalitis that is caused by an
A viral infection is usually the cause of infectious encephalitis. Vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox have decreased the number of cases of encephalitis caused by these diseases, but other viruses can also cause encephalitis. Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus, and enteroviruses, which cause gastrointestinal illness, are the most common causes of viral encephalitis.
Encephalitis may also be caused by viruses spread by mosquitos, ticks, and other insects or animals, such as:
- The West Nile virus
- Equine viruses include the Japanese encephalitis virus, the La Crosse virus, and the St. Louis virus.
- Powassan virus, Zika virus, and Chikungunya
- Other infectious microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites, may sometimes cause encephalitis.
When a person’s antibodies or immune cells invade the brain, this is referred to as autoimmune encephalitis. Antibodies in the brain can target particular proteins or receptors, determining the form of autoimmune encephalitis:
The immune system attacks the NMDA receptors in the brain in anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.
The immune system targets the VGKC brain protein complex, which includes subtypes LGI-1 and CASPR2, in VGKC-complex antibody encephalitis.
GABA-A and GABA-B receptors can be targeted as well.
Although the causes of autoimmune encephalitis are unknown, it can often be caused by a tumor (benign or cancerous). Some forms of autoimmune encephalitis, such as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), are usually brought on by an infection (post-infectious encephalitis). Schedule your appointment with a spine surgeon in Gurgaon.
Symptoms of Encephalitis
Acute encephalitis manifests itself with the onset of symptoms that worsen over days to weeks. Infectious encephalitis often begins with flu-like symptoms or a headache and progresses to an altered mental state and difficulties thought, recalling, and reasoning. Autoimmune encephalitis typically occurs over a few weeks.
The symptoms of encephalitis differ depending on the region of the brain affected and, in the case of autoimmune encephalitis, the related antibody.
Physical Signs and Symptoms
- Seizures Caused by Fever
- Disorders of movement
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
- Stiffness in the neck
- Consciousness loss
A form of autoimmune encephalitis that affects NMDA receptors may begin as a flu-like illness. It can then trigger behavioral changes and irregular movement patterns involving the mouth and face, as well as cognitive impairment and diminished autonomic nervous system function.
Another form of autoimmune encephalitis (LGI1) is characterized by seizures or other irregular facial or arm movements.
Encephalitis symptoms may mimic those of other problems or medical conditions. For a diagnosis, always contact your health care provider.
Diagnosis of Encephalitis
If you have a variety of symptoms such as fever, altered state of consciousness, seizures, or changes in action or activity, you should be treated for encephalitis. It is important to detect encephalitis as soon as possible to reduce the risk of death or long-term complications.
Your healthcare provider can order tests, perform a medical exam, and discuss your medical history to diagnose encephalitis. The doctor may inquire about your vaccination history, recent colds, and other respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. He or she may like to know whether you have recently been bitten by a tick, whether you have been around pets or other creatures, or whether you have traveled to specific places.
Encephalitis tests can include:
Neuroimaging, such as MRI or CT scans of the brain
A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed to look for signs of infection in the brain or spinal cord.
EEG is used to search for seizures or complex patterns of electrical activity in the brain.
Blood, urine, and stool samples are used to classify the pathogens or antibodies responsible for an infection.
Other checks that can be performed include:
- A sputum culture examines the substance coughed up from the lungs to determine whether or not any bacteria are present.
- A biopsy of damaged brain tissue may be done in rare cases to allow for inspection under a microscope.
- Intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP) is a technique that monitors the pressure within the skull to detect brain swelling.
Treatment for Encephalitis
Early diagnosis and successful treatment of the underlying cause are critical to surviving encephalitis. A multidisciplinary team of experts working together is critical to providing the best possible treatment.
Patients with encephalitis can require a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) so that health care staff may monitor for seizures, brain swelling, respiratory failure, or changes in heart rhythm.
Treatment for encephalitis
- Antiviral drugs are used to treat viral diseases in the brain.
- Antibiotics to treat the underlying bacterial infections that cause encephalitis.
- Immunotherapy, such as steroids, intravenous antibodies (IVIg), or plasma exchange, can be used to treat certain forms of autoimmune encephalitis.
- Medications or other seizure-controlling treatments.
- If the person has lost consciousness due to encephalitis, a breathing tube, urinary catheter, or feeding tube may be required.
A ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, can help patients with encephalitis who have seizures that do not react well to anti-seizure medications. It is successful in reducing seizures in children and adults with drug-resistant epilepsy, as well as in patients with autoimmune encephalitis such as anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Book your appointment with Dr.Arun top spine surgeon in Gurgaon.