Every year millions of Americans are affected by neurological disorders, and many are not aware of it. In this edition of Neurology Insights, we break down 5 of the most common neurological diseases in an effort to promote community-wide health literacy.
Neurological disorders are classified as any dysfunction of the neurological system involving the brain and nervous system (including the spinal cord). Some of these disorders may result from genetics, while others can come from trauma, lifestyle choices, or other health abnormalities.
Because headaches are so common in our society today, many of my patients are surprised to hear that migraines are a neurological disorder. While headaches can vary from mild to intense and cluster/continuous vs. tension, it is essential to note your symptoms. Migraines that linger and have become a part of your life are ones that you should take seriously because they can reveal underlying health issues that can often be treated and prevented.
There are many causes of migraines, some include:
- High blood pressure
- Barometric pressure changes
- Inflammation of blood vessels
It is important to meet with your Neurologist if you are experiencing frequent migraines as they can be debilitating and may indicate a deeper, more serious issue or medical problem.
For a more in-depth look at migraines, feel free to refer to our Neurology Insights Article on Migraine Headaches, which includes a free resource and migraine chart available for download
It can be easy to associate stroke to the heart; however, many do not know that stroke is also related to the brain.
There are three types of stroke:
- Ischemic: When the brain cannot receive enough blood and oxygen due to a blockage in the artery
- Hemorrhagic: A blood leak or ruptured arterial artery
- TIA (transient ischemic attack): a mini-stroke due to blood clots that resolves and does not leave any permanent damage
Strokes can be very deadly, and it is important to identify a stroke so that you can act fast.
Remember the acronym below:
For a more in-depth look into stroke prevention and treatment, feel free to read our article “Screening Stroke” for more information
Seizures often take us by surprise and for a good reason. Seizures are uncontrollable and dramatically affect one’s behavior, movement, and consciousness when suffering through this disturbance.
Common signs are:
- Uncontrollable limb movement (tonic = rigid limbs, clonic = shaking limbs)
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden spell of emotions such as fear and anxiety
- Sudden confusion or “tuning out”
It is important to note that a seizure is a medical emergency if:
- It lasts more than five minutes
- Loss of consciousness occurs
- Trouble breathing
- Repeated occurrences
- The individual is diabetic or pregnant
- First time experiencing a seizure
This disease is one that generally affects individuals over the age of 50. This neurodegenerative disorder is one that affects balance, speech, and movement and worsens over time.
Key signs you or a loved one may have Parkinson’s:
- Imbalance or a tendency to fall backward
- Stiff movement
- Generalized slowing or rigidity
- Trouble with speech, lower volume of speech
- Progression of smaller handwriting over time
If you or a loved one may be experiencing Parkinson’s related symptoms, it is vital to speak to your Neurologist about the next steps. Pay attention to the signs; the earlier a patient begins treatment, the higher the chances of living a longer, quality life.
For a more in-depth look into Parkinson’s and treatment, feel free to read “Decoding Parkinson’s” for more information
Dementia is a condition in which the individual experiences memory loss and the waxing and waning of cognitive ability. Dementia is an umbrella term for most neurological disorders affecting memory and is most common among individuals over 50. The most common form of dementia in adults is Alzheimer’s disease.
Early warning signs include:
- Memory loss that impairs necessary daily activities
- Difficulty problem-solving
- Problems using common items like the phone or TV Remote
- Confusion with time or locations
- Trouble formulating sentences
- Struggles with judgment
- Sudden social and emotional changes
If you or a loved one may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to speak to your Neurologist. It is important to note: Not all issues with memory, judgment, and attention are Alzheimer’s, and many other causes can be explored, prevented, and even reversed!
For a more in-depth look into Alzheimer’s, feel free to read “Alzheimer’s Awareness” for more information.
Feel free to share this with the people in your life who may benefit from this information! For more insights on neurology, check out our weekly tips on our Neurology Office Facebook page.
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If you have any questions about your health or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Neurology Office for more help.
Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel M.D. and Associates
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