Reye’s Syndrome – Serious Liver and Brain Damage - Dream Health

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Sunday 5 October 2014

Reye’s Syndrome – Serious Liver and Brain Damage

Reye’s syndrome is a rare condition which causes serious liver and brain damage and can affect any child, teen or adult without warning. The body organs get affected with serious damage to the brain and the liver. If timely treatment is not rendered it could lead to permanent brain injury or even death.

The exact cause of this disease in unknown though researchers have established a link between Reye’s syndrome and the use of aspirin together with other salicylate containing medicines purchased over the counter. Due to the possibility of the link with aspirin, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – MHRA have recommended that children below the age of 16 should avoid taking aspirin without the advice of the physician.

Some of the symptoms may include: loss of energy, persistent vomiting, and mood swings, like irritability or severe confusion and anxiety – delirium, drowsiness which could eventually lead to coma. It is a two phase illness since it is usually associated with a previous viral infection like influenza, cold, or chicken pox. At times Reye's syndrome is often misdiagnosed as meningitis, diabetes, encephalitis, poisoning or drug overdose, Sudden infant death syndrome or even psychiatric illness.

Occurs during Recovery from Viral Illness 

Reye Syndrome occurs when a person begins to recover from a viral illness and the primary symptoms include uncontrolled vomiting besides mental status changes, which are generally due to increased intracranial pressure and brain swelling.

If left untreated the progress of the disease could be fatal. At times even if diagnosed and treated early, some tend to still have progressive condition which could lead to death or permanent brain damage. Abnormal collection of fat tends to develop in the liver and other organs in the body together with severe increase of pressure in the brain and if not treated in time, it could result in death within a few days or even a few hours.

According to statistics it shows that when Reye’s syndrome is diagnosed and treated in its initial stages, there are good chances of recovery and if delayed and more severe, the chances for successful recovery and survival are very less.

Treated as Medical Emergency

When a person is diagnosed with Reye’s syndrome it should be treated as a medical emergency since it can damage the liver and brain quickly. If a child is suffering from this disease, they should be taken immediately to an intensive care unit in order that their body’s functions can be supported while they are being treated.

It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people who suffer from this condition survive due to the advance in diagnosing and the treatments though some children tend to develop some degree of brain damage after recovery. Diagnose of Reye’s syndrome is done clinically and it is considered in any child suffering from unexplained brain dysfunction, vomiting and liver dysfunction together with the support of any recent viral infection and aspirin use.

Laboratory studies revealing an increase in liver enzymes and ammonia levels with marked decreases in serum glucose also support the diagnosis of this disease though one should also make a note that other metabolic disorders could also cause similar symptoms.

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