Neurology

Neurology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It has two major divisions: Central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord.

What are some common neurological disorders?

Neurological disorders are medically defined as disorders that affect the brain as well as the nerves found throughout the human body and the spinal cord. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms.

Age-Associated Memory Impairment

Age-Associated Memory Impairment is a common condition characterized by very mild symptoms of cognitive decline that occur as part of the normal aging process. Symptoms confirmed in objective tests include a general slowness in processing, storing and recalling new information, and a general decline in the ability to perform tasks related to cognitive functioning (such as, memory, concentration, and organizing activities). Subjective complaints from individuals with age associated memory impairment often include difficulties remembering names and words. Current understanding of age associated memory impairment indicates that this condition is the result of physiological changes in the aging brain and not a specific neurological disorder. Like every other organ of the body, the aging brain simply does not function quite as well as it used to. Other designations for this condition include Age Related Cognitive Decline, Age Consistent Memory Impairment, and Late Life Forgetfulness.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease causes brain changes that gradually get worse. It’s the most common cause of dementia — a group of brain disorders that cause progressive loss of intellectual and social skills, severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function. Current Alzheimer’s disease medications and management strategies can temporarily improve symptoms, maximize function and maintain independence. It’s also important to seek social services and tap into your support network to make life better. Research efforts aim to discover treatments that prevent Alzheimer’s or slow its progression.

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (adult ADHD) is a mental health condition that causes inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD symptoms can lead to a number of problems, including unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, and low self-esteem. ADHD always starts in early childhood, but in some cases, it’s not diagnosed until later in life. It was once thought that ADHD was limited to childhood. But symptoms can persist into adulthood. For some people, adult ADHD causes significant problems that improve with treatment. Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD and includes stimulant drugs or other medications, psychological counseling (psychotherapy), and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with adult ADHD.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder — sometimes called manic-depressive disorder — causes mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may only occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

What is Pain?

Pain is an uncomfortable feeling and/or an unpleasant sensation in the body. The presence of pain often is an indication that something is wrong. Pain can appear suddenly or can come about slowly. Each individual is the best judge of his or her own pain. Feelings of pain can range from mild and occasional to severe and constant. Pain can be classified as acute pain or chronic pain.

What is Acute Pain?

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain might be caused by many events or circumstances, including: Surgery Broken bones Dental work Burns or cuts Labor and childbirth Acute pain might be mild and last just a moment, or it might be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months, and it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed. Unrelieved acute pain, however, might lead to chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain persists despite the fact that the injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Physical effects include tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. Emotional effects include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear might hinder a person’s ability to return to normal work or leisure activities. Common chronic pain complaints include: Headache Low back pain Cancer pain Arthritis pain Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves) Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside) Chronic pain might have originated with an initial trauma/injury or infection, or there might be an ongoing cause of pain. However, some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

What is the Difference between Acute and Chronic Pain? 

There might be no known cure for the disease (such as arthritis or phantom pain) that is causing the chronic pain. The cause of chronic pain might be unknown or poorly understood. How is pain treated? Depending upon its severity, pain might be treated in a number of ways. Symptomatic options for the treatment of pain might include one or more of the following: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a specific type of painkiller such as Motrin® or Aleve® Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) Narcotics (such as morphine or codeine) Localized anesthetic (a shot of a pain killer medicine into the area of the pain) Nerve blocks (the blocking of a group of nerves with local anesthetics) Acupuncture Electrical stimulation Physical therapy Surgery Psychotherapy (talk therapy) Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing Biofeedback (treatment technique in which people are trained to improve their health by using signals from their own bodies) Behavior modification Some pain medicines are more effective in fighting pain when they are combined with other methods of treatment. Patients might need to try various methods to maintain maximum pain relief.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder that results from the surges in electrical signals inside the brain, causing recurring seizures. Seizure symptoms vary. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others have full-fledged convulsions. About 2 in 100 people in the United States will experience an unprovoked seizure once in life. However, a solitary seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis. Even mild seizures may require treatment because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming. Treatment — which generally includes medications and sometimes surgery — usually eliminates or reduces the frequency and intensity of seizures. Many children with epilepsy even outgrow the condition with age.

General Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a normal part of life. It can even be useful when it alerts us to danger. But for some people, anxiety is a persistent problem that interferes with daily activities such as work, school or sleep. This type of anxiety can disrupt relationships and enjoyment of life, and over time it can lead to health concerns and other problems. In some cases, anxiety is a diagnosable mental health condition that requires treatment. Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, is characterized by persistent worry about major or minor concerns. Other anxiety disorders — such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — have more specific triggers and symptoms. In some cases, anxiety is caused by a medical condition that needs treatment. Whatever form of anxiety you have, medications, counseling or lifestyle changes can generally help.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or both. With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance, and quality of life. How much sleep is enough varies from person to person? Most adults need seven to eight hours a night. Many adults experience insomnia at some point, but some people have long-term (chronic) insomnia. You don’t have to put up with sleepless nights. Simple changes in your daily habits can help.

Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is a medical illness that involves the mind and body. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder, and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think, and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or other treatment.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially debilitating disease in which your body’s immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers your nerves. This interferes with the communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Ultimately, this may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that’s not reversible. Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk or speak. Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose early in the course of the disease because symptoms often come and go — sometimes disappearing for months. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help treat attacks, modify the course of the disease, and treat symptoms.

Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage, often causes numbness and pain in your hands and feet. People typically describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove. Peripheral neuropathy can result from problems such as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes. In many cases, peripheral neuropathy symptoms improve with time — especially if the condition is caused by an underlying condition that can be treated. A number of medications often are used to reduce the painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Obesity

Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Doctors often use a formula based on your height and weight — called the body mass index (BMI) — to determine if you are obese. BMI Weight status Below 18.5 Underweight 18.5 — 24.9 Normal 25.0 — 29.9 Overweight 30.0 and higher Obese 40.0 and higher Extreme obesity Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, often starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes a slowing or freezing of movement. Friends and family may notice that your face shows little or no expression and your arms don’t swing when you walk. Speech often becomes soft and mumbling. Parkinson’s symptoms tend to worsen as the disease progresses. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, many different types of medicines can treat its symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may suggest surgery.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. The ability of people with schizophrenia to function normally and to care for themselves tends to deteriorate over time. Contrary to some popular belief, schizophrenia isn’t split personality or multiple personalities. The word “schizophrenia” does mean “split mind,” but it refers to a disruption of the usual balance of emotions and thinking. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ,s)

Q. What are the top 3 common nervous system disorders?

  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Peripheral neuropathies.

Q. What are the 4 specialties of a neurologist?

Neurology Subspecialties
  • Epilepsy/Neuro-Diagnostics.
  • Headache/Pain Medicine.
  • Movement Disorders.
  • Neuro-Behavior/Memory Disorders.
  • Neuro-Immunology/MS.
  • Neuro-Infectious Disease.
  • Neuro-Muscular.
  • Neuro-Oncology.

Q. What are signs of neurological problems?

Physical symptoms of neurological problems may include the following:
  • Partial or complete paralysis.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Partial or complete loss of sensation.
  • Seizures.
  • Difficulty reading and writing.
  • Poor cognitive abilities.
  • Unexplained pain.
  • Decreased alertness.

Q. Can anxiety cause neurological symptoms?

Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause your brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and depression.

Q. Can viruses cause neurological problems?

Viruses can cause neurological problems due to a number of mechanisms including lytic effects on brain cells (cytomegalovirus), induced apoptosis (vesicular stomatitis virus, VSV), or secondary damage due to release of glutamate, DNA, and other inducers of further brain damage.

Q. What viruses affect the brain?

Encephalitis is most commonly due to viruses, such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, cytomegalovirus, or West Nile virus. It can occur in the following ways: A virus directly infects the brain. A virus that caused an infection in the past becomes reactivated and directly damages the brain.

Q. What STD attacks the nervous system?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. Even though it is curable, if syphilis isn’t treated, it can cause serious damage to your brain, heart, nervous system, and even lead to death.

Q. What are the signs of brain infection?

Symptoms you should watch for are:
  • differences in mental processes, such as increased confusion, decreased responsiveness, and irritability.
  • decreased speech.
  • decreased sensation.
  • decreased movement due to loss of muscle function.
  • changes in vision.
  • changes in personality or behavior.
  • vomiting.
  • fever.

Q. How do you know if you have a brain infection?

headache – which is often severe, located in a single section of the head, and cannot be relieved with painkillers. changes in mental state – such as confusion or irritability. problems with nerve function – such as muscle weakness, slurred speech or paralysis on one side of the body. a high temperature.

Q. Does syphilis stay in your body forever?

Shortly after infection occurs, the body produces syphilis antibodies that can be detected by a blood test. Even after full treatment, antibodies to syphilis remain in the blood and may be detectable for many years after the infection has gone.

Q. What are the 3 stages of sepsis?

There are three stages of sepsis

  • sepsis
  • severe sepsis
  • septic shock.
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