Symptoms of encephalopathy can include mental changes such as memory loss and personality changes, as well as neurological changes such as twitching, weakness, trembling and seizures, Healthline states. Encephalopathy is a term that applies to any disease that affects the structure or function of the brain, so symptoms vary greatly. In some cases, the symptoms may appear but the victim may not know.
Typically, a victim may have poor concentration due to memory loss. He or she may find it difficult to solve or complete simple activities. Neurological changes that may occur include trembling, seizures, speaking difficulty, poor decision making and involuntary twitching. A person may also experience drowsiness.
There are many different types of encephalopathy, including hepatic encephalopathy, Hashimoto's encephalopathy, glycine encephalopathy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and hypertensive encephalopathy, Healthline says. Hepatic encephalopathy occurs because of liver disease, while Hashimoto's encephalopathy is a rare autoimmune disorder. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy occurs because of multiple injuries to the brain, and hypertensive encephalopathy occurs because of extremely high blood pressure. With any of these or other diagnosed conditions, patients and those around them should watch out for coma, severe disorientation or severe confusion, as these indicate a worsening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Like the symptoms, the treatment for encephalopathy depends on its cause, explains Healthline. Both medication and surgery are used. Life support machines may be necessary if a person with encephalopathy enters a coma. All types of encephalopathy are potentially fatal. Some types of encephalopathy can cause permanent brain damage, but even in these cases treatment may improve symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption and regular visits to a doctor can improve life quality.