Any condition that affects the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, is referred to as a neurological condition (as well as the muscles that they control). A neurologist relies on a patient’s symptoms and medical history to identify neurological diseases, which can be problematic. According to the United Nations, one in every six people on the planet suffers from a neurological condition. Early diagnosis, like with other sorts of health issues, is suggested for better treatment outcomes.
In a country like Pakistan, most people don’t even know if they are suffering from a neurological condition or not. Finding the best neurologist is secondary when you don’t know that you have a particular disease. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss some of the most common neurological conditions that require help from a neurologist. Headaches, seizures, stroke, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), and Parkinson’s disease are six of the most prevalent neurological illnesses and their early symptoms discussed in this blog post.
One of the most prevalent neurological diseases is headaches. Although almost everyone has headaches now and then, some people suffer from persistent headache discomfort as a result of a headache problem. The following are examples of headache disorders:
A migraine is a neurological disorder that causes acute throbbing pain in one side of the head. The pain can be severe enough to produce nausea and vomiting, as well as loss of consciousness and convulsions. Migraine headaches can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. Visual disturbances such as flashing lights, zigzagging lines, blind areas in the field of vision (scotoma), or loss of vision (blindness) can occur up to 10 minutes before or after the headache begins. Numbness; tingling sensations; severe sensitivity to light (photophobia); extreme sensitivity to sound (phonophobia); and/or a sensation of warmth or coldness are some of the other symptoms.
Tension headaches are characterized by tense muscles and sore sites in the neck, shoulders, and back. The pain usually begins at the base of your skull or on one side of your head and spreads to other parts of your body. The discomfort can range from mild to severe, and it can become worse as you exercise. Mild tension headaches usually go away on their own after 12 hours or so. Severe cases may necessitate medical attention. Adults are more likely than children to suffer from tension headaches, and women are more likely than men to suffer from them (possibly because hormones play a role). If you sit or stand for lengthy periods of time, work under stress, or have anxiety about finances, school grades, or relationships, you may be at risk.
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that causes extreme, one-sided discomfort on one side of the head or around the eye. The pain can be severe enough to produce nausea and vomiting, as well as loss of consciousness and convulsions. Cluster headaches are sometimes accompanied by an “aura,” which involves visual abnormalities such as flashing lights, zigzagging lines, blind areas in the field of vision (scotoma), or blindness for up to 10 minutes before or after the headache starts. Numbness; tingling sensations; severe sensitivity to light (photophobia); extreme sensitivity to sound (phonophobia); and/or a sensation of warmth or coldness are some of the other symptoms.
Headache pain is generally described as a throbbing or severe pressure sensation that can occur anywhere on your head or neck. However, as previously stated, the symptoms of a headache disease differ depending on the type of headache. Despite the fact that headache diseases are not fatal nor communicable, it is nonetheless recommended that persistent headache pain be treated, especially if it is affecting your quality of life.
A seizure occurs when the electrical activity in your brain is disturbed, which can happen as a result of an infection or an injury. It’s as if the electricity in your brain goes out, causing abrupt shifts in your behavior. Many people believe seizures are uncommon, yet the Epilepsy Foundation estimates that one in every 100 Americans has one each year. A seizure is a single incidence of aberrant electrical activity that is regarded as a symptom, whereas epilepsy is a neurologic disorder characterized by recurring seizure events.
Seizures come in a variety of forms, and not all of them look the same: some entail convulsions (which can be quite violent), while others may last only a few seconds with no shaking at all. When a seizure is suspected, it’s best to consult a neurologist to figure out what kind of seizure it was, what caused it, and what to do next.
Another common neurologic condition is stroke, which occurs when blood flow to a part of your brain is interrupted for an extended period of time – usually due to a clot. If the blood supply to the brain is cut off for even a few seconds, it can cause neurologic damage or brain tissue death. Sudden onset weakness (e.g., on one side of the body), confusion, sensory loss (including vision loss and/or reduced sensation), headache discomfort, and/or difficulty speaking are all common stroke symptoms.
Because of the abrupt onset of neurologic symptoms, it is essential that you seek emergency medical attention right away if you notice any neurologic impairments or suspect someone is suffering a stroke. Prompt medical intervention may be able to reverse and/or lessen the symptoms of a stroke if identified early. You can also take preventative measures by assessing your personal risk factors for stroke to see where you stand and whether there is anything you can do to lower your risk.
ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurologic disease in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, generally known as neurons, stop working. Motor neurons, which are responsible for sending electrical impulses from your brain to your muscles so they can move, die, resulting in muscle weakness throughout the body.
Muscle weakness or twitches throughout the body are the most typical neurologic symptoms of ALS. Slurred speech, clumsiness, atypical muscle tiredness, muscle tightness or stiffness, and breathing or swallowing issues are some of the other symptoms. Unfortunately, ALS is difficult to diagnose, which often results in a delay in diagnosis and treatment. As a result, the sooner you are diagnosed and start therapy, the better.
Dementia is a neurological illness that causes confusion and memory loss as a result of age or neurologic disease. A neurologist can diagnose dementia by looking over your medical history, performing a neurological examination, and administering cognitive tests.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of dementia, but there is also vascular dementia (caused by strokes), Lewy Body Dementia (induced by Parkinson’s disease), frontotemporal dementia (caused by brain tumors or trauma), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (a rare type caused by prions), and others.
The symptoms of all dementias differ depending on the type, although neurologic symptoms are common across all forms. Memory loss or short-term memory impairment, difficulties planning and organizing things in your life (e.g., personal care), problems paying attention and concentrating on tasks for a long period of time, difficulty following directions when given more than one step at a time, and/or difficulty understanding social cues such as facial expressions and tone of voice are all examples of neurologic symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurologic illness in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, generally known as neurons, quit working. Motor neurons, which are responsible for sending electrical impulses from your brain to your muscles so they can move, die, resulting in muscle weakness throughout the body.
Muscle weakness or twitches throughout the body are the most typical neurologic symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Slurred speech, clumsiness, atypical muscle tiredness, muscle tightness or stiffness, and breathing or swallowing issues are some of the other symptoms. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s Disease is difficult to diagnose, which commonly results in treatment delays. That said, the sooner you get diagnosed and start treatment, the better!