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Encephalopathy is a condition that affects the brain. It can affect memory, thinking, and personality. It can also affect the nerves and muscles in the body. These problems may last a short time or cause problems over the long term.
Many things can cause this condition. These include lack of oxygen or blood to the brain, infections, problems with metabolism, and abnormal genes. Toxins in the home or environment or being exposed to alcohol or drugs before or after birth may cause it too.
The type of symptoms and how bad they are vary. They may happen slowly and cause a gradual loss of function. Or they may happen suddenly and cause life-threatening problems.
In a newborn, the condition may cause your baby to:
In a young child or teen, the condition may:
Other symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms, past health, and exposure to toxins. He or she will do a physical examination and watch how your child interacts and behaves. The doctor may order blood and urine tests. An electroencephalogram (EEG) or imaging tests like an MRI or a CT scan may be done.
The doctor will treat what's causing the problem. For example:
If the doctor can't treat the cause of the problem, he or she will treat the symptoms. For example, the doctor may prescribe medicine to control seizures.
If symptoms are severe, your child may need to be treated in the hospital.
Your child may have physical and learning problems because of encephalopathy. But getting support can help you care for your child. Here are some ideas.
Your child may need:
Public schools are required to create an Individual Education Plan or Individualized Program Plan for children with special needs. This details your child's disability, appropriate teaching methods, and goals for the school year.
Or talk with other parents who have a child with special needs.
It can help you understand your feelings and work through them.
This service provides a break for parents and siblings. This allows you to recharge, so you can be at your best for your child.
Current as of: April 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Karin M. Lindholm DO - Neurology & Thomas Emmett Francoeur MD MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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