Symptoms of Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome
Symptoms of Vitamin B1 Deficiency
Know the Symptoms of Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome
Wernicke’s Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) a type of brain disorder with two separate conditions that can strike at the same time.
These two disorders are Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome. Though Wernicke’s encephalopathy often presents first, Korsakoff syndrome usually follows closely behind.
The symptoms of Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome are brought on by the lack of vitamin B1, thiamine. All bodily tissues require this nutrient, but thiamine plays a bigger role in the cardiovascular and nervous systems than it does in other organ systems.
If this deficiency is not found in time and is left untreated, a dangerous situation can occur. Over time, the brain will develop lesions that can result in permanent brain damage and can even become fatal. Early detection of the symptoms of this disorder can save lives.
Between 1 and 2% of the US general population is affected by Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome, though some populations of people are at a higher risk of developing the syndrome. Among those at higher risk are patients who have recently undergone surgery in the gastrointestinal region and anyone who has had bariatric surgery performed. If you’ve been impacted by this disease while under medical care then you need to speak with a Wernicke Korsakoff misdiagnosis lawyer today!
Common Symptoms Of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
Some of the first symptoms that will present in people experiencing this syndrome are:
Disorientation or Confusion
The prevailing and most commonly occurring symptom of Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome is the confusion or disorientation. This symptom develops over the span of several days or weeks, and those who experience this symptom will likely develop other changes in their mental status as well.
As the syndrome persists, you can expect to see the person become indifferent and lethargic, exceptionally weary, and unable to focus or pay attention. Delirium may occur in extreme cases of the syndrome.
People experiencing Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome will often have difficulty controlling their movements and may appear to be off balance. This will have a significant effect on how they can walk, generally resulting in a slow and unsteady gait. As the disease begins to take hold and get worse, someone with this syndrome might not be able to walk or stand unaided. In extreme cases, the affected individual might not be able to walk at all.
Abnormalities in Vision
When someone develops Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome, he or she will develop many problems related to their eyes. Some of these will be noticeable by just looking at them, like the characteristic drooping upper eyelid (ptosis). Other eye problems will only be found following an examination. Likely abnormalities include double vision as well as problems with moving the eyes up and down or side to side. The affected person might also experience involuntary rapid movements of the eye or even paralysis in some muscles of the eye.
Potential Neurological Symptoms Of Wernicke’s
Around 80% of people will experience the disease progressing from these early stages into more serious symptoms.
The most commonly experienced changes involved the person’s mental state. They will often present symptoms such as:
- Short-term memory loss
- Changes in personality
- Creating fictitious memories
- Becoming increasingly talkative
Additional symptoms of Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome are:
- Neuropathy, both polyneuropathy and peripheral neuropathy
- Extremely low blood pressure upon standing
- Rapidly beating heart
- Extreme malnutrition
Too often, these signs and symptoms are attributed to other causes resulting in wrongful diagnosis. When not caught in time, Wernicke’s Korsakoff Syndrome can have fatal results. If you or a loved have any questions regarding your experience with Wernicke’s Korsakoff syndrome, contact us today.