Encephalopathy refers to disease or damage of the brain that affects brain function or structure.
For some causes of encephalopathy, the brain changes are reversible and, in some cases, the damage is permanent. How long encephalopathy lasts varies widely and depends on the cause and severity.
Causes of encephalopathy that may be reversible include:
- Liver disease
- Thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s encephalopathy)
- Metabolic conditions
- Brain tumor
- Prolonged exposure to toxic elements (such as solvents, drugs, radiation, paints, industrial chemicals, and certain metals)
- Seizures that do not cause any physical symptoms (nonconvulsive status epilepticus)
- Increased pressure in the skull
- Poor nutrition
Causes of encephalopathy that may not be reversible include:
What Are Symptoms of Encephalopathy?
17 symptoms of encephalopathy include:
- Altered mental state
- Difficulties with cognitive ability
- Progressive loss of memory
- Inability to concentrate
- Subtle personality changes
- Progressive loss of consciousness
- Neurological symptoms
How Is Encephalopathy Diagnosed?
Encephalopathy is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination and tests such as:
What Is the Treatment for Encephalopathy?
Treatment for encephalopathy depends on the cause, the type, and the severity and may be aimed at relieving symptoms. Treatments may include:
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