Just a few decades ago, the diagnosis of meningitis was a kind of sentence for people. Currently, this disease is perfectly treatable, most importantly, if you experience primary symptoms, immediately contact the clinic. The reasons for the development of such pathology are different. Most often, the disease meningitis children and young people, less often it occurs in old age, with the exception of hereditary predisposition. In this article we will look at the main aspects of the disease: what is meningitis, symptoms in adults, how to diagnose and cure this ailment.
Meningitis: symptoms in various forms of the disease in adults
Meningitis is considered an acute infectious disease. Once in the body, bacteria, viruses, or fungi infect the soft tissues of the brain and spinal cord. In addition, when meningitis inflammatory processes occur in the cerebrospinal fluid. This disease primarily affects the nervous system.
Meningitis can also be transmitted by airborne droplets. To protect yourself from the development of such pathology, you need to constantly strengthen the immune system, lead a healthy lifestyle, eat right, play sports and give up bad habits. In rare cases, meningitis may occur as a result of genetic predisposition.
Treatment specialists identify several types of meningitis, in particular:
Also in medical practice, meningitis is classified according to the location of the disease. So, meningitis can be localized in the following places in the brain:
- in the meninges;
- only in hard shell;
- in arachnoid shell;
- at the same time in a soft and arachnoid shell.
Regardless of the reasons for the development of the disease, and the form of its manifestation, meningitis always occurs in several stages. The primary stage is considered an incubation period.
How does the disease manifest itself during the incubation period?
The incubation or, more simply, the hidden period can last from one to ten days. As practice shows, on average, this period lasts no more than 5-6 days. It is at this stage that the first symptoms of meningitis in adults appear. Symptoms of meningitis cannot be confused with a common cold or other viral disease.
So, at the initial stage, during the incubation period, meningitis manifests itself in the form of the following symptoms:
- a sharp increase in the temperature threshold to 40 °;
- dizziness, which is permanent;
- bouts of nausea and vomiting without further relief;
- abrupt and prolonged headache attacks, the nature of which depends on the arterial and intracranial pressure of an adult;
- rashes on the skin that do not have a clear localization: after a sharp increase in the temperature threshold, black points start to protrude through the body;
- redness of the mucous coating of the tonsils and throat.
If you have noticed at least two clearly expressed symptoms, then do not delay with a visit to the attending specialist. It is much easier to get rid of the disease at an early stage than at the subsequent stages of the development of pathology.
Above were listed common symptoms of meningitis at the initial stage. In order to obtain a complete clinical picture of the state of an adult, doctors distinguish a number of (specific) symptoms, which manifest themselves mainly only during meningitis. Individually, each symptom may indicate the presence of a disease of the nervous system, but in aggregate, they only speak about the development of meningitis. Such symptoms include:
- stiff neck and neck muscles;
- constantly drawn in the stomach, and this is done involuntarily;
- the adoption of an unusual posture by a person: the spine is arched, the head is tilted back, and while lying down, the person is also pressing his knees close to the stomach;
- palpation syndrome: when pressing on the cheekbones or the outer part of the ear, there is a sharp contraction of the muscles and increased attacks of pain.
For many years, scientists and practitioners have identified the main symptoms of meningitis. They came to the conclusion that during the development of meningitis in humans, the connection between the muscles of the face and the extremities is strongly pronounced. For example, when pressing on the neck or tilting the head of a person, the leg and arm are straightened. Muscles are constantly in such tension that even with the effort to bend or bend the limb is almost impossible.
Symptoms of viral meningitis
As you already know, viral pathology is considered a form of meningitis. Viruses of various forms can enter the human body by droplet infection, as well as enter the brain through blood or lymph. The incubation period lasts no more than 4 days. It is in the first days of a person that the temperature threshold may sharply increase, nasal congestion and cough may appear. If a person has only these symptoms, then this is a common respiratory illness. But if along with such symptoms you have vomiting, diarrhea, sharp headaches, this may indicate the development of viral-type meningitis.
In addition, the development of viral meningitis, as a rule, is accompanied by a number of symptoms:
- unreasonable muscle spasms and bouts of pain;
- headache of varying intensity;
- severe sore throat.
The main characteristic feature of the disease of the viral type meningitis is the human posture. Patients with this pathology, as a rule, lie on their side, press their knees tightly to the stomach, arms are crossed in the thoracic region, while the head is constantly tilting back slightly. As practice shows, the disease of viral meningitis proceeds rapidly. With timely detection and treatment of pathology, such a disease can be eliminated in 10-14 days.
How to recognize the serous form of pathology?
As already mentioned, the symptoms of meningitis in adults are different from those signs of the disease, which are manifested in children of different age groups. Serous meningitis refers to a viral disease. This pathology is characterized by the following symptoms:
- a sharp increase in the temperature threshold;
- headaches of varying intensity and duration;
- frequent vomiting;
Specialists also recognize conjunctivitis and the so-called white triangle around the mouth and nose as one of the symptoms of serous meningitis. Practice does not die of such meningitis. If you start to treat it in a timely manner, then there will be no trace of the illness in 7-10 days.
How to diagnose meningitis?
If you suddenly find a manifestation of at least two symptoms, then immediately go to a hospital and go through a full-scale examination. As a rule, treating specialists carry out a number of procedures using various laboratory and instrumental methods. First of all, a person needs to undergo the following procedures:
- sampling of cerebrospinal fluid - based on the puncture taken, a study is conducted in the laboratory and the degree and area of inflammation is determined;
- a blood test (detailed) analysis is necessary to identify pathogens, as well as to determine the tolerability of individual drugs;
- detailed analysis of urine is needed to assess the functioning of the urinary system as a whole;
- biopsy may be prescribed with a heavy rash on the skin to prevent the development of another disease;
- magnetic resonance imaging is assigned to identify complications and the development of pathological processes in the brain;
- Ultrasound and radiography are prescribed to identify foci of inflammation in other internal organs, if there is a threat of the spread of viruses or bacteria.
In individual cases, the attending specialist may prescribe a number of other tests and procedures. If bacteria are detected, the doctor will ask you to take an analysis to determine blood sterility.
There is no general treatment for meningitis. Depending on the patient's age, the severity of the disease, its form and stage, an individual course of treatment is indicated. As a rule, treating specialists always take antibiotic, fortified and diuretic drugs as a basis.
If there is evidence for a patient with such a diagnosis, other procedures may be prescribed. Antibiotics are necessary to eliminate infection and pathogens. To increase the effectiveness of treatment, as well as to speed up the healing process, antibiotics can be injected directly into the spinal cord. Such manipulations are carried out only in stationary conditions.
To avoid intoxication of the whole body, glucose is plentifully injected into patients. Specialists in the field of medicine have developed a vaccine that allows you to protect yourself from contracting meningitis. Unfortunately, it is not possible to find such a vaccine everywhere, and it is valid for only four years. Agree, it is better to vaccinate once every four years than to suffer from ailment and undergo a long treatment course. In the event of symptoms of meningitis, in no case can one self-medicate. This is fraught with the development of complicated consequences, including the onset of a lethal outcome.
Meningitis is a very insidious and serious disease of the infectious type. In order to protect yourself from the appearance of such a disease, you need to carefully monitor your health and, above all, the state of the immune system. Meningitis is currently treatable, deaths occur extremely rarely. Therefore, in the event of any symptoms do not panic and do not despair. It is better to take all measures for timely treatment and speedy recovery.