What Part of the Body Does Meningitis Affect?

… Continued …

Back and neck stiffness

Meningitis can lead to inflammation of meninges covering the spinal cord. Therefore, it’s often associated with muscular and skeletal problems such as back and neck stiffness. You may find that it’s not easy to turn your neck and back. Read more this issue in here!

Hearing loss

Hearing loss is common in people with meningitis (particularly for bacterial meningitis), which can range from mild to serious (more profound). Even some experts say that it’s the most common complication of the disease.

Early and prompt treatment is vital to prevent the risk of developing after-effects from the disease, including hearing loss. For more information about meningitis-related hearing loss, see this article!

Problems of circulatory system

Meningitis, particularly bacterial meningitis caused by bacteria called ‘Neisseria meningitidis’, can occur with septicemia. If the bacteria that infect the meninges spread and enter the circulation (bloodstream), they may produce and release toxins.

Septicemia is a serious blood poisoning, and therefore immediate treatment is necessary. It can occur with or without meningitis. It can range from less to more severe. But in general, again prompt treatment is important to prevent the problem from worsening.

It is associated with a number of problems affecting the circulatory system. As the problem worsens, blood flow to organs of the body (including vital organs such as heart, lungs, and kidneys) will be impaired. It can also lead to blood clots in any part of the body, causing varying degrees of tissue death or even organ failure.

Skin problem

The skin may appear flushed with the onset of fever, though meningitis is not always associated with fever.

When blood poisoning (septicemia) sets in, you’ll find evidence on your skin such as skin rash – this is particularly true if some of your blood vessels become damaged.

This blood poisoning often starts with bleeding under the skin, causing distinctive skin rash that usually doesn’t fade under pressure. At first, you might mistakenly identify the rash for mild problem such as a minor rash or tiny scratches. As the infection gets worse, the rashes will get darker and spread. Sometimes they may resemble large bruises or cause permanent scarring.

Other muscular and skeletal problems

Besides stiff back and neck, severe meningitis may also cause a condition called opisthotonos (when the spine, neck, and head become painfully arched and rigid). Individuals with poor bone structures (such as young children and babies) are more likely to have opisthotonos.

It is also possible for meningitis to cause a bulging-tight fontanel (especially in infants), joint stiffness, body aches, and muscle weakness. Even some of these problems persist a few months after the infection clears up.

What else?

The impaired central nervous system can also be potential to cause serious long-term after effects such as difficulty learning, difficulty concentrating (memory difficulty), and co-ordination problems. See more the comprehensive guide about long-term effects of meningitis in this section!

Article sources:

  1. http://www.neurosurgery.pitt.edu/centers-excellence/neurosurgical-oncology/brain-and-brain-tumors/brain-and-spinal-cord
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/meningitis/effects-on-body

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