Neurological diseases are disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, nerves, and nerve endings.
Examples of such diseases are migraines, infections, traumatic disorders of the nervous system, epilepsy, tumors, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
Neurological diseases are quite common, and these diseases are chronic and usually progressive. Also, all neurological disorders can be divided into congenital and acquired, for example, from an injury. A separate place in the list is occupied by diseases, depending on the cause of their occurrence.
Neurological diseases are divided into two groups:
- Neurological diseases affecting the central nervous system
- Neurological diseases of the peripheral nervous system, i.e., individual nerve endings
From birth to a ripe old age, the human body accumulates damaging factors from an improper lifestyle, stress, and environmental influences. The nervous system reacts to this, trying to compensate for the negative impact. But the body’s possibilities are not endless, and over the years, the body does not get younger. Thus, the older a person gets, the more likely it is for chronic neurological disorders to occur.
Pathological conditions of the nervous system can be divided into three groups:
- a group of diseases with damage to the central nervous system
- a group of diseases with damage to the peripheral nervous system
- a group of diseases involving both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Common symptoms of neurological diseases
One of the most formidable categories of pathological chronic neurological conditions is the one associated with the vessels of the brain. As a rule, acute disturbance of cerebral circulation (stroke) leads to irreversible dysfunctions of the brain and disability. Stroke is classified into ischemic (most common) and hemorrhagic.
- Ischemic stroke is caused by blockage of blood vessels due to compression or thrombosis.
- Hemorrhagic stroke is a hemorrhage in the brain due to dissection of an aneurysm or rupture of a vessel.
A stroke requires immediate hospitalization. Similar symptoms can be caused by a transient ischemic attack, a transient ischemic cerebrovascular accident. With such a picture (against the background of treatment), the symptoms disappear within 24 hours.
Risk factors leading to the cerebrovascular accident are:
- arterial hypertension
- coronary artery disease
- heart rhythm disturbances
- high cholesterol
- bleeding disorders
- vascular disease
- alcohol and others
- asymmetry of the face
- speech impairment
- weakness and loss of strength in the limbs on one side
- visual impairment
- violation of sensitivity (numbness) of the face and limbs
- lack of coordination (instability)
- loss of consciousness.
The sooner a patient with a stroke is admitted to the hospital and treatment begins, the more chances there are to avoid death and minimize irreversible changes in the functions of the nervous system. This dysfunction manifests itself with varying degrees of memory impairment, changes in intelligence, behavior, autonomic symptoms, coordination disorders, etc.
In addition to strokes, there are many neurological severe diseases such as epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, manifested by uncontrolled attacks of disturbed or changing consciousness, convulsive (tonic, clonic) muscle tension, or paroxysmal loss of muscle tone.
The causes of seizures can be:
- damage to the baby’s brain at the time of delivery
- genetic diseases
- brain tumors
- traumatic or metabolic damage to the central nervous system.
The morphology of epileptic seizures is diverse. It is customary to divide epileptic seizures into generalized (spreading to the entire brain) and focal (limited to one or several areas of the brain). In turn, generalized include:
- Generalized convulsive seizure, which is manifested by a sudden loss of consciousness, a fall, tonic tension of the muscles of the body and limbs, followed by clonic convulsive muscle contractions, involuntary urination, tongue bite, and further confusion.
- A myoclonic attack is manifested by a sharp short contraction of certain muscle groups.
- Absence. This attack manifests itself as a short-term blackout, but without falling and without convulsive contractions. The patient suddenly freezes, stopping their activity and speech. After the seizure has ended, speech and activity continue.
Focal seizures include:
- Focal epileptic seizure with loss or change in the level of consciousness. As a rule, with a focal epileptic seizure, involuntary tonic tension occurs in one limb or muscle group (involuntary movement of the limb or turning the head or eyes).
- Focal seizure without change in consciousness with convulsive manifestations.
- A focal attack without a change in consciousness and without seizures caused by changes in sensitivity, hallucinations (gustatory, olfactory, auditory, visual), autonomic manifestations, and mental disorders.
Every epileptic seizure harms the normal functioning of the brain. Therefore, epilepsy must be treated. Modern anticonvulsant drugs are highly effective and have minimal side effects. Examinations are carried out to diagnose epilepsy: electroencephalography, video monitoring, magnetic resonance imaging.
Moreover, for diseases of the central nervous system, a neurologist is often consulted with symptoms of peripheral nerve damage.
Neuritis is an inflammation of a peripheral nerve (infectious, traumatic, toxic, vascular etiology). Patients are often treated with facial neuritis, trigeminal neuritis, sciatic nerve neuritis, radiculopathy, intercostal neuralgia, etc.
Symptoms of neuritis:
- impaired sensitivity
- movement disorders (paresis)
- trophic disorders
- vegetative manifestations.
For the treatment of neuritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, B vitamins, physiotherapy treatment methods, massage, and acupuncture are used. In difficult cases, hormonal drugs are prescribed for treatment.
You need medical attention if you suffer from the following nervous system disorders:
- chronic fatigue
- regular severe headaches
- fainting and light-headedness
- sleep disturbances, anxiety
- memory loss
- decreased concentration of attention
- decreased mood, irritability
- asymmetry of the face
- back pain
- numbness and weakness in the upper and lower extremities.
Seeing a neurologist with a headache
There are many reasons for headaches. Migraine is manifested by attacks of headache on one side, ending with vomiting, which brings relief. Before a migraine attack, an aura of visual phenomena (visual disturbances, flickering, lightning), unpleasant sensations (photophobia, fear of sound, increased sensitivity of odors) may occur. Then comes an attack of severe headache, which does not allow you to work or rest as usual. Analgesics do not help with this picture. Special medications are required.
In addition to a migraine, there is a tension headache, which occurs due to the constant tension of scalp muscles in the skull. Vascular headache occurs against the background of cerebral vasospasm, increased blood pressure. With a brain tumor, there is a headache caused by vascular compression or cerebrospinal fluid disturbances and other types of headaches.
Moreover, there are many more pathological chronic neurological conditions to these diseases, such as CNS injuries, congenital pathologies, progressive demyelinating diseases, myopathies, polyneuropathy, sleep disorders, memory impairments, and others.
Diagnostics and analyzes of neurological diseases
Early diagnosis is crucial in any disease, especially neurological, as in some diseases of the nervous system, it can stop the spread of large-scale lesions.
Modern neurology has made great strides in the development of progressive treatment regimens and the creation of advanced diagnostic techniques.
One of the most informative diagnostic methods is duplex scanning of the main arteries of the head and transcranial duplex scanning of cerebral vessels. It is used to assess blood flow in the large and medium vessels of the head and neck. It can be used both for the primary detection of pathologies of the vascular bed and for monitoring the treatment and the patient’s condition.
The study of the clinical blood test, the hemostasis system, and screening of the biochemical blood test are still relevant.
You may need the following to diagnose neurological diseases:
- disease history
- physical examination
- encephalogram recording of electrical activity in the brain
- computed tomography to obtain an image of the brain and its surrounding structures
- computed tomography angiography, which includes computed tomography injected with a contrast agent to obtain images of blood vessels and tissues
- magnetic resonance imaging, which uses powerful magnets to produce a clear and detailed image of the brain.
Treatment depends on the diagnosis and usually involves taking medication or surgery.