Meningitis is an infectious inflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord membranes. It affects children and adults, usually with a weakened immune state. It is crucial to consult a neurologist in time because meningitis has severe complications and sometimes leads to death. Treatment, mainly medication, depends on the causative agent of the disease.
There are entirely different concepts that mean inflammation of the structures of the central nervous system (CNS).
- Myelitis is a general term for diseases and inflammatory processes affecting the human spinal cord.
- Encephalitis is a group of diseases manifesting with inflammation of the brain.
- Encephalomyelitis is a lesion of the brain and spinal cord structures, mainly autoimmune.
- Meningomyelitis is an inflammatory process involving both the membranes and the substance of the spinal cord.
- Meningoencephalitis is an acute infection (bacterial or viral) manifested by inflammation of the brain, its membranes and spinal cord.
At the same time, meningitis is an infectious disease affecting the membranes of the spinal cord and brain. An infection that enters the cerebrospinal fluid (that circulates in the cavities of the brain and spinal cord) causes an inflammatory process.
Meningitis can manifest as an independent disease or a complication of another condition. Neurologists distinguished four main types of meningitis depending on the cause:
- Viral meningitis (herpes, mumps, flu);
- Bacterial meningitis (staphylococcus, streptococcus, meningococcus);
- Fungi (candida);
- The simplest microorganisms (toxoplasma, amoeba).
The disease can progress at different rates of onset and progression of symptoms:
- Lightning-fast - signs of meningitis appear very quickly, and the patient may die on the first day from the moment of infection;
- Acute - the infection develops several days after infection, and the signs of meningitis are well expressed;
- Chronic - symptoms appear gradually.
Usually, symptoms include severe headache, high temperature, stiffness of the occipital muscles, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, delirium, psychoemotional excitement, rashes on the body, convulsions and drowsiness.
A patient with suspected meningitis must be hospitalized. Then, depending on the form and causative agent of meningitis, the doctor may prescribe the following therapy: bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics; tuberculous meningitis is treated by the administration of bacteriostatic doses of several antibiotics at the same time.
Neurologists can treat viral meningitis symptomatically. General strengthening agents are also prescribed, and in severe cases, corticosteroids and diuretics. If the cause of meningitis is fungi, for example, candida, doctors use antifungal drugs. Rehabilitation after a course of treatment plays an equally important role.