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Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges that provides a protective covering of the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation of this layer leads to severe headache and decreases the brain functions.
The most common cause of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections. However, fungal, parasitic infections and non-infectious causes are known to increase the risk of meningitis. Other comorbidities such as cancer, drug allergies and chemical irritation are known to cause inflammation of the meninges.
In certain cases, bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening and may cause hearing impairment and brain damage. This condition may turn to be fatal if left untreated for a long period of time.
The incidence of acquiring meningitis is higher with 70% cases reported in children below 5 years and adults above 60 years of age. However, the prevalence is higher among the female population when compared to the male population.
The early signs of acquiring meningitis may be similar to flu-like symptoms. The other symptoms may develop over a few hours or days that may turn intense over a period of time. The symptoms of meningitis are explained separately for children and adults.
The symptoms of meningitis observed in children are:
The symptoms of meningitis observed in adults include:
Meningitis occurs due to bacterial and viral infections that enter the blood stream and affects the brain and spinal cord. It also occurs due to the infection of sinus or ear infections, surgeries or due to a skull fracture.
The bacterial strains that cause meningitis are:
The viral strains that cause meningitis are:
The following factors increase the risk of developing meningitis:
The complications that arise due to meningitis are:
Meningitis is diagnosed by the following diagnostic procedures:
The treatment of meningitis depends on the age and type of microbial infection.
A procedure involving the emptying of sinuses and mastoids are performed to prevent the risk of bacterial infections.
Management and support
Meningitis produces acute headache that may be confused with the symptoms of other medical conditions. Thus, it is advised to consult the doctor as soon as the patient develops symptoms of meningitis. Effective management of meningitis helps prevent damage to the brain and other health complications.
Meningitis is a contagious disease. The spread of the infection can be prevented by:
The use of medications and regular follow-up post treatment helps in better response rate from meningitis infections. Lifestyle modifications such as avoiding cigarette smoking help in reducing the risk of developing meningitis infections.
Geeta Dutta, a patient from West Bengal got in touch with Dr Venugopal Subramaniam, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Whitefield through the OPD clinic programme and then later was guided by him towards a craniotomy & brain tumour removal.
Manika Saha, a patient from West Bengal got in touch with Dr. Venugopal Subramaniam, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Whitefield through the OPD clinic programme and then later was guided by him towards a brain tumour removal in Whitefield, Bengaluru which gave her vision back.
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