Neurology is the branch of medical science that deals with structure, functions and diseases of the nervous system. It involves the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (organs, nerves, limbs, muscles, skin and other sensory receptors).
While neurology is a nonsurgical field of medicine, surgical intervention of neurological disorders is known as neurosurgery. A neurologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats neurological disorders.
Some of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders are epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimer’s, migraine, multiple sclerosis, neuroinfections, traumatic brain injuries, stroke, movement disorders and brain tumors.
Neurological disorders are also associated with improper nutrition and lifestyle, mood swings and depression, environment, genetics and infections (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic).
If ignored and left untreated, the consequences of neurological disorders can be serious with long-term disability and even death, as, few of these conditions are reversible. A quick diagnosis and treatment, such as medical care in the first ‘golden hour’ for a stroke patient, can arrest the progression of the disorder.
Although neurological disorders are prevalent in every strata of society and come with a high burden on patients and their families, there is an acute lack of awareness among the general public, especially the poor and the underprivileged.
The acronym STAND (Symptoms, Treatment, Advice and Assessment, Neurology, Determine), can be a thumb rule that can help both patients and their caregivers understand, manage and treat many neurological disorders.
Physical symptoms can be as simple as muscle weakness, numbness and headaches and/or as serious as partial or complete paralysis with loss of sensation. Emotional symptoms are hard to recognize but can include depression and delusions. Consult a medical professional in case of recurring symptoms such as fatigue and migraine, and especially if you experience tingling and numbness, changes in coordination, loss of balance, blurry vision and slurred speech.
A number of specialized tests, such as electroencephalogram (EEG), genetic screening and brain scans, enable a neurologist to diagnose the problem and start treatment. With rapid advances in pharmaceutical and medical technology, various drugs and treatment options are now available to treat neurological disorders.
Advice and Assessment
While self-assessment can lead to awareness of a possible disorder, it is crucial that the person seeks immediate medical advice and treatment. Self-medication should be avoided as it can lead to side effects and even prove fatal.
Although a neurological disorder can be frightening, a heart-to-heart talk with your doctor will give you a proper understanding of the condition, its symptoms and treatment options. Knowing that the condition can be treated will also put you at ease.
Determine to lead a healthy and active life, both physically and emotionally, and keep many disorders at bay. In the event of a neurological problem, your determination will help you fight the condition.
Knowledge, awareness and certain behavioral changes can help manage and treat many diseases and disorders.