Wernicke Syndrome

by Sam Malone

Wernicke syndrome involves brain disorder which causes loss of certain brain functions. This syndrome is caused mainly due to malnutrition. There is another reason for this syndrome, and that is Vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency.

Wernicke syndrome can be caused to people who are malnourished, however it is known that even alcoholism causes Wernicke syndrome. Wernicke syndrome includes encephalopathy, which means there are multiple damages to the central nervous system, and this affects peripheral nervous system, and therefore affects the rest of the body.

Wernicke syndrome is extremely common among alcoholics; this is one of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Body of people who use alcohol, find it difficult to absorb thiamine inside the body, therefore though a person who uses alcohol eats a balanced diet he might suffer from Wernicke syndrome.

There are quite some numbers of symptoms or Wernicke syndrome; these are loss of memory as well as inability to form new memory, hallucinations, confabulations, etc. Another syndrome is the vision changes, people might experience double vision, eye vision abnormalities, there might be drooping of eyelids, etc.

In case of other symptoms, there is also a loss of muscle coordination; there might be unsteady and uncoordinated walking, etc. After physical examination, there might be traces found of multiple nerve damages, there might also be abnormal eye movements, person suffering from Wernicke syndrome might have low body temperature, low blood pressure. Whereas the pulse rate might be rapid, as well as the heart rate too might be fast.

If a person has been alcohol for a long time, there might be higher levels of alcohol in levels of blood as well as urine. However, an MRI scan might not show any changes in brain tissue.

However, thiamine deficiency can occur to several other reasons like AIDS, cancer, dialysis, heart failure, thyrotoxicosis, etc.

In order to treat a person with Wernicke’s disease, it might be required to hospitalize such a person, so that if in initial stages this disease can be taken care of and the symptoms can be controlled. Appropriate care is required in a person who is suffering with lethargy, who is comatose. It is necessary to keep airway passage under complete observation of such persons.

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