font size


Encephalopathy

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Encephalopathy facts

  • Encephalopathy is a general term that means brain disease, damage, or malfunction.
  • The major symptom of encephalopathy is an altered mental state.
  • The causes of encephalopathy are numerous and varied; they include infections, anoxia, metabolic problems, toxins, drugs, physiologic changes, trauma, and other causes.
  • Encephalopathy is often considered a complication of a primary problem such as alcoholic cirrhosis, kidney failure, or anoxia.
  • Early treatment of many types of encephalopathy can eliminate, reduce, or halt the symptoms of encephalopathy.
  • Often, cases of encephalopathy can be prevented by avoiding the many primary causes.

Encephalopathy definition and overview

Encephalopathy is a term that means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Encephalopathy can present a very broad spectrum of symptoms that range from mild, such as some memory loss or subtle personality changes, to severe, such as dementia, seizures, coma, or death. In general, encephalopathy is manifested by an altered mental state that is sometimes accompanied by physical manifestations (for example, poor coordination of limb movements).

The term encephalopathy, in most cases, is preceded by various terms that describe the reason, cause, or special conditions of the patient that leads to brain malfunction. For example, anoxic encephalopathy means brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and hepatic encephalopathy means brain malfunction due to liver disease. Additionally, some other terms either describe body conditions or syndromes that lead to a specific set of brain malfunctions. Examples of these are metabolic encephalopathy and Wernicke's encephalopathy (Wernicke's syndrome). There are over 150 different terms that modify or precede "encephalopathy" in the medical literature; the purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to the main categories of conditions that fall under the broad term of encephalopathy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Encephalopathy - Type of Encephalopathy Question: From what type of encephalopathy did you suffer?
Encephalopathy - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of encephalopathy in you or someone you know?
Encephalopathy - Diagnosis Question: What types of tests and exams led to the diagnosis of encephalopathy in you, a friend, or relative?
Encephalopathy - Prognosis Question: What is the outlook for a patient you know who had encephalopathy?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/encephalopathy/article.htm

WebMD Daily

Get breaking medical news.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations