Spinal Meningitis is a terrifying and sometimes fatal disease. Typically caused by either a viral or bacterial infection, Spinal Meningitis causes the tissue that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord to become inflamed and swell. This inflammation can seriously harm, or even destroy nerve cells and can even cause the brain to bleed. Because of the seriousness of the disease, it is imperative to understand the symptoms and warning signs of Spinal Meningitis and to consistently watch for them.
There are several common symptoms of Spinal Meningitis for patients over the age of two. These symptoms may develop suddenly and appear in as little as a few hours or may take as long as two days to develop. A stiff neck, high fever and headache may indicate Spinal Meningitis. Other patients may develop a rash. Meningoccoal meningitis is often accompanied by adrenal gland or kidney shock or failure.
In other instances, some more severe symptoms may appear. These symptoms are reason for additional concern and include sensitivity to light, sleepiness, confusion, vomiting and nausea. As the disease progresses, some patients begin to suffer from seizures.
It is more difficult to recognize the symptoms of Spinal Meningitis in infants or newborns. A stiff neck or headache may be impossible to recognize in an infant. Instead, parents should monitor newborns or infants for lethargy, irritability, vomiting or a decrease in appetite.
If you have been exposed to someone that has Spinal Meningitis or have been exposed to another common cause of meningitis and suffer from any of the symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention quickly. Some of the causes of Spinal Meningitis include fungal infections, traumatic injury to the head, some forms of cancer and some viruses and bacteria. Lupus or other inflammatory diseases as well as adverse reactions to some medical treatments or drugs may also cause Spinal Meningitis.
If you believe you have Spinal Meningitis, your Doctor will perform several in-depth test that allow them to evaluate several symptoms you may not be aware of. They will perform test to determining if your sensory or motor function has decreased. They will carefully check your speech, vision and hearing as well as your balance and coordination to determine if there has been a significant change. A thorough medial and family history to determine if your behavior or mood has changed will be taken.
Your doctor will use a variety of tools including a reflex hammer, pins, penlight and tuning fork to begin their diagnosis. Additional tests will be conducted such as a Lumbar Puncture, EEG and other laboratory test to make a formal diagnosis.
Bacterial Meningitis can be transmitted a variety of ways. Exposure to infected person’s secretions, feces, nasal discharge and saliva all have the potential to infect you. If you are concerned that you may have Spinal Meningitis, seek medical attention immediately. It really is a case of life and death.
Written By: Updated: July 11,2011