Pronounced: En-SEF-a-lo-PATH-eeEn Español (Spanish Version)
Encephalopathy is condition caused by diseases that affect large portions of the brain. The disease may affect the function and/or the structure of the brain leading to a wide range of physical and mental symptoms. An altered mental state, such as confusion and sudden mood changes, is often a hallmark of encephalopathy.
There are several different type of encephalopathy based on the cause. Treating the disease or injury causing the encephalopathy may reverse symptoms in some. Some forms of encephalopathy may result in lasting changes in the brain. If the brain injury is severe and cannot be reversed, the disease can be fatal.
Encephalopathy is caused by an infection or widespread injury of the brain. Some common causes include:
- Head trauma
- Metabolic dysfunction—causes an imbalance in nutrients and electrolytes the brain needs to function
- Brain tumor or increased pressure on the skull
- Exposure to toxins
- Poor nutrition—causes an imbalance in nutrients and electrolytes the brain needs to function
- No oxygen or blood flow to the brain
- Organ failure
Oxygen and Blood Flow to the Brain
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedOctober 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.