Neurological disorders are medical problems that are diseases of the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, as well as cranial and peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system neuromuscular junction, and muscles. Symptoms depend on where damage occurs and can include areas that control movement, communication, vision, vision, hearing, or thinking. These disorders can involve areas that control movement, communication, hearing, vision, or thinking. Many problems can result in the need for life-long management.
Examples of neurological disorders are epilepsy, cerebrovascular problems including stroke, migraine and other types of headaches, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, neuro infections, disorders of the nervous system resulting from head trauma, and neurological disorders resulting from malnutrition.
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from neurological disorders. Various bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections can affect the nervous system, with neurological symptoms occurring due to the infection itself or an immune response.
Major Neurological Disorder Types
Most neurological problems fall into several major types and include more than 600 neurological diseases. Major types are:
- Diseases caused by faulty genes such as muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease
- Problems with nervous system development, like spina bifida
- Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases
- Seizure disorders, including epilepsy
- Blood vessel diseases, such as stroke
- Cancer, like brain tumors
- Spinal cord and brain injuries
- Infections, like meningitis
What is the Most Common Neurological Disorder?
Some experts consider headaches to be the most common type of neurological disorder. Headaches that occur repeatedly could be a sign of an underlying condition. The most common conditions that cause headaches include:
- Temporal arteritis, a condition where blood vessels in the scalp become inflamed
Others believe that seizure disorders, particularly epilepsy, are the most common neurological disorders as an estimated one in 100 Americans suffer from them. Seizures affect the brain’s electrical activity and result in loss of consciousness, temporary confusion, uncontrollable arm, and leg movements, and emotional symptoms such as fear or anxiety.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Neurological Disorder?
Each experiences neurological symptoms differently. These are the most common general neurological signs:
- Persistent, sudden, or change in headache
- Loss of feeling
- Double vision or loss of sight
- Memory loss
- Tremors and seizures
- Impaired mental ability
- Slurred speech or language impairment
- Back pain radiating to the extremities
Signs and symptoms can vary, depending on the type of neurological disorder, particularly when the disorder is functional. Symptoms can come and go or resist and can affect your ability to walk, swallow, see, or hear. Signs that affect body movement and function are:
- Weakness and paralysis
- Abnormal movement
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty swallowing
- Non-epileptic seizures
Symptoms can frequently fluctuate. Sometimes patients may experience substantial or complete remission followed by sudden relapse. Other symptoms that may present themselves involve chronic pain and fatigue, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and bowel and bladder problems.
Commonly Asked Questions About Neurological Disorders
Is Autism a Neurological Disorder?
Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins in childhood, lasts throughout life, and affects how one interacts with others, communicates, and learns. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which includes those with Asperger syndrome and others with pervasive developmental disorders. People on the spectrum may have difficulty talking with others or may not look others in the eye when speaking. Those on the spectrum may have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. They often seem to spend a lot of time in their world. Disabilities range from mild to disabling. Scientists aren’t sure what causes autism but believe that genetics and environment are involved.
Some children and adults on the spectrum don’t look different and are completely able to perform all activities of daily living. Learning, problem-solving and thinking abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged, with those patients requiring substantial help for even basic tasks. Asperger syndrome is considered to be at the mild end of the spectrum.
Is Epilepsy a Neurologsical Disorder?
Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder where brain activity is abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior and sometimes loss of awareness. Almost 2.2 million Americans live with the disorder, affecting people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds. Like autism, epilepsy is a spectrum disorder as its symptoms range from benign to life-threatening and disabling. epilepsy has many possible causes, sometimes developing due to an abnormality in brain wiring, an imbalance of neurotransmitters, changes in brain channels, or some combination of these factors. An isolated febrile seizure resulting from a high fever or one that occurs from a head injury does not necessarily mean that someone has epilepsy. Two or more seizures are necessary for a diagnosis, along with a measurement of electrical activity through brain scans. Patients with seizures have normal electrical patterns disrupted by sudden and synchronized bursts of electrical energy that can briefly affect movements, sensations, and consciousness. In addition to differences in severity, seize can also vary in frequency from less than one per year to several per day.
Epilepsy’s common causes are:
- Brain tumor
- Brain infections, viruses, and bacteria
- Traumatic brain or head injury
- Loss of oxygen to the brain, including birth injuries
- Genetic disorders
- Other neurological diseases
For two in three people, though, epilepsy’s cause is unknown.
Is ADHD A Neurological Disorder?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Often lasting into adulthood, ADHD affects 3-5% of American children. The disorder interferes with one’s ability to stay on task and can involve cognitive and behavioral impulsive behaviors and overactivity. Signs are:
- Failure to listen to instructions
- Inability to organize
- Talking too much
- Leaving tasks unfinished
- Having trouble paying attention to details
ADHD is considered a neurological condition because brain images of suffers show differences when compared with those of children who do not have the disorder. Specific brain chemicals linked to tasks like attention and activity levels may be responsible.
Is Depression a Neurological Disorder?
Certain areas of the brain regulate mood, but which areas are involved is not completely understood. Areas that play a role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus. Some research indicated that the hippocampus is smaller in depressed people. Stress may also play a part as it can suppress the production of new neurons in the hippocampus. The mood may only improve as nerves grow and form new connections. Depression is a mood disorder, but when Parkinson’s disease occurs, depression is part of the disease as it changes areas of the brain that produce chemicals that involve unregulated mood, energy, motivation, and sleep.
Recent research has indicated that there is a neural basis for the onset and progression of depression, although the literature on this theory is still lacking. Psychiatric and neurologic depression appear to share common abnormalities in common brain areas.
Is Anxiety a Neurological Disorder?
Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but excessive anxiety is different. The exact cause of anxiety disorder is not known, but they do tend to occur frequently in those who have neurologic disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder probably arises from excessive activation of the brain mechanism involved in fear and fight-or-flight response. Over time, anxiety can become attached to thoughts, memories, and situations unrelated to the source of danger. In other words, the brain creates its fears.
A variety of factors appear to influence anxiety disorder and could include chemical imbalances in the body, especially in the brain, which controls mood. Anxiety also runs in families, while environmental factors such as trauma or a significant event may also trigger it.
Is Fibromyalgia a Neurological Disorder?
Fibromyalgia causes widespread body pain, fatigue, disturbed sleep, and mood problems, symptoms that are common to many other conditions. Because these symptoms can occur alone or with other problems, it can take time to determine the cause. The American College of Rheumatology characterizes fibromyalgia as widespread pain that occurs throughout the body for at least three months. Researchers think that fibromyalgia amplifies pain by affecting the way the brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals. However, the causes remain unclear. Fibromyalgia may run in families, but genes aren’t the only cause. Research suggests that the central nervous system is involved, but triggering factors, such as physical stress, also may be responsible. Such stress may change the way the body communicates with the brain and spinal cord. It’s often described as a Central Pain Amplification disorder, meaning the brain’s pain sensation is too high.
Is Migraine a Neurological Disorder?
Migraine is a type of headache, which is the most common neurological disorder. It has incapacitating neurological symptoms that include throbbing pain. Migraine sufferers have an improperly-working nervous system that overreacts to stimuli which leads to an unusual wave of brain activity that causes headache. Most migraine patients have a problem with the trigeminal nerve, which sets off a slowly moving wave of electrochemical activity across the brain’s surface. These stimuli are irrational signals from other parts of the nervous system, although sometimes symptoms occur spontaneously without a trigger. Sometimes auras occur with migraines that can include visual phenomena, vision loss, pins and needles sensations, uncontrollable jerking, and more.
Is MS a Neurological Disorder?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological system disorder that affects the brain, and spinal cord yet spares the nerves leading to both. It is also an inflammatory disorder that involves white blood cells entering the nervous system and causing injury. The myelin sheath that protects nerves is stripped off during inflammation. Nerves are unable to conduct electricity as they should, causing symptoms that come and go or progress over time in this long-term disease. Some individuals may have mild symptoms, while others lose their ability to see, write, speak, or walk. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
MS is also an autoimmune disorder as the body attacks normal, healthy tissue. Sometimes the nervous system can repair itself, but even when repair occurs, symptoms can reappear when stress or illness occurs.
Is Schizophrenia a Neurological Disorder?
As one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in neurology clinics, Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) causes long-term disability and impair quality of life similar to that of multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s. The disorder can overlap with other problems such as chronic pain and fatigue.
How Centric Healthcare Can Help
If you or a loved one have neurological issues, Centric Healthcare can make your life at home more comfortable. When dealing with children’s issues, we can provide pediatric home nurses that can help manage symptoms and provide general care. for complex issues that combine both physical and mental health issues, we can provide in-home mental health services. As your source for home health care services in the Twin Cities and Rochester area, Centric Health has the personnel to make your life easier. Contact us today for more information.