Ways & How

how to diagnose meningitis

how to diagnose meningitis

Life-threatening as it is, aggressive testing for meningitis is badly needed to stop the infection from spreading. Delay in the application of the right treatments can lead to brain inflammation that may cause permanent disability. How to diagnose meningitis is time sensitive because it is important that doctors know what causes it to find the right cure as quickly as possible. Tracing back the cause from the person’s medical history then doing designated tests on the physical level must follow immediately to verify the suspicions. More testing can be done before the final conclusion. Here are some details of the tests:

  1. In determining a patient’s medical history, a thorough personal interview is facilitated to determine if the person is prone to infections based on past records. Secondly, to check if there’s any recent exposure to microorganisms from animals or from places where there’s some kind of viral epidemic. Next, behavioral possibilities will also be investigated like the possibility of physical contact with an infected person.

    etic connections will also be disclosed. Family relations and social activities will also be examined. Once there are findings, physical tests will be done next.

  2. A full disclosure of the symptoms that the patient is experiencing will be the basis in verifying the condition through a physical examination. The pattern of a certain symptom’s progress, the strangest manifestation or the lack of it will make a huge difference. Physical examinations are done when the patient is resting on his back. While assisting the patient, the doctor will instruct him to try to touch his chest with his chin. It must be carefully observed and noted if the patient has no difficulty in doing so or if the legs have been raised up to be able to do it. The patient may also exhibit other reactions aside from this common response.

  3. Imaging tests are necessary to see internal abnormalities leading to meningitis. Swelling, deposits, hardened cells, and other lumps will be seen through the visuals produced by a CT, or computed tomography, scan, MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, and X-rays. These tests are mainly directed to the brain and lumbar areas, but infection in other parts of the body that may have something to do with meningitis can also be detected through these processes. Doctors can prescribe more effective treatments when they know what they are dealing with.

  4. More specialized tests will be needed to dig deeper into the problem. These include: lumbar puncture or spinal tap where a fluid sample is drawn from the spine for testing. This is effective in testing live organisms present in the body. The fluid specimen is called CSF, or cerebrospinal fluid. Individuals affected with meningitis will normally have a low glucose level, a high count of white blood cells, and the blood having high protein content. Additionally, bacteria can also be identified by culturing the blood drawn from the veins.

The relevant tests will last around seven days if done consecutively. When the patient is endangered, an alternative DNA-based test called a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, can verify the responsible virus for the meningitis in not more than four hours. This may not be widely available because of the high requirements in terms of equipment needed for the tests. Expect to have more tests when meningitis exists because of cancer or any chronic diseases. The intensity of the treatment depends on the characteristics of the culprits be they bacterial or viral.


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