Definition of Metabolic Encephalopathy

Reviewed on 11/2/2021

Metabolic encephalopathy is any damage or loss of brain function that is caused by an illness or condition unrelated to the brain, such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney failure, or heart failure. Because of the other condition, levels of electrolytes and blood chemicals are altered, and this disruption in blood chemistry affects brain function. Symptoms of encephalopathy can vary in severity and may include delirium, confusion, problems with thinking clearly, memory loss, personality changes, sleep disturbances, nausea, problems with speaking, tremors, or irregular eye movements, among others. Metabolic encephalopathy may be temporary or permanent.

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.

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