Bacteria in the blood, if untreated, can be quite dangerous. In fact, it can reach the most remote places of our body, like the brain. Find out more!
Bacterial flora is common in entire systems of the human body, such as the digestive system. This makes us wonder if there are bacteria in other places, such as the brain.
Bacteria are an essential part for the proper functioning of our body. They inhabit many areas of the body: from the mouth to the genitals, through the entire digestive tract and even covering the skin. But are there bacteria in our brain?
It is normal for us to wonder how far these colonies of microorganisms reach in the body. Are there bacteria in places as remote as our brain?
First of all, it is necessary to establish a little the concept of microbial flora. What is it? What is it made of? Where is it located?
The flora or microbiota is composed of a series of microorganisms that are located in a normal way in different places in the bodies of multicellular living beings.
The components of the microbiota have a symbiotic relationship with the organism in which they inhabit. That is, both obtain physiological benefits.
The key to this definition is in the word ‘normal’. A bacterium that causes a condition should not be part of the typical flora of the individual. If so, it would not generate a clinical picture.
However, it is possible for a common, uncontrolled bacteria to generate a pathology. Its atypical concentration is what would characterize it as abnormal at any given time.
The presence of bacteria is not always positive
With the bacterial domain in such important systems as the digestive system in humans, it is common to wonder if other systems, such as the nervous, are helped by these microorganisms. The answer is clear and concise: no. What’s more, if a person has bacteria in his brain, he is in serious danger.
Below we show you a pathology associated with the presence of these microorganisms in the nervous system that perfectly exemplifies why they do not have to be there.
Acute bacterial meningitis
The brain, made up of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and cerebrospinal bulb, has three layers of tissue called meninges:
- Dura mater: it is the outer layer.
- Arachnoid: middle layer.
- Pia mater: inner layer.
Between the arachnoid and the pia mater is a space through which the cerebrospinal fluid flows. Acute bacterial meningitis occurs when certain bacteria infect both the tissues and this fluid, causing severe inflammation in the patient.
The immune system detects microorganisms that do not have to be there and sends the antibodies to eradicate them, causing general inflammation.
According to the Merck Health Manual, the symptoms of this disease appear in several ways:
Older children and adults develop a stiff neck that makes it difficult or impossible to lower the chin to the chest.
This characteristic symptom is accompanied by headaches and high fever.
If the cranial nerves become inflamed due to infection, the patient may experience double vision, deafness and other pathologies associated with the senses.
But it is not all bad news. There are vaccines that reduce the risk of suffering from this disease. Furthermore, if detected early, the use of antibiotics has a generally positive prognosis.
How do bacteria get to the brain?
The route of entry of bacteria to our brain system can take place in different ways, as the Merck Manual mentioned above also collects:
The bacteria can spread from the blood system to the brain after multiplying successfully in any other organ. Therefore, bacteria in the blood can reach the brain.
A penetrating wound to the skull, although rare, can also allow bacteria to enter an environment that does not belong to them.
Surgery on the brain or spinal cord weakens these systems, also facilitating the presence of pathogens.
So we see that the risk factors are clear. The more the target organ is exposed, the easier it is for unwanted agents to enter.
What to do if the bacteria in the blood reaches in our brain?
In spite of everything, one should not be overly alarmed by pathologies of this type. The most susceptible people are newborns or the elderly, since uncontrolled bacterial growth is often linked to a weakened immune system.
In addition, as previously mentioned, there are effective antibiotic treatments that usually have a positive prognosis. Likewise, vaccines prevent the appearance of these pathologies, especially in newborns.
The key lies in prevention and early diagnosis. If you suspect that you have a bacterial infection, do not hesitate to go to the doctor; This will prevent their uncontrolled growth in unwanted places.
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