Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with management of disorders related to the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. All the sensations we receive and all our body activities are controlled by the nervous system.
Common neurological problems are Headache, seizures or epilepsy, blackouts or syncope, vertigo, stroke, various neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease and other abnormal movements, memory disorders and various muscle diseases.
Headache is the commonest neurological problem for neurologist consultation. There are several different causes of headaches, ranging from migraines to the most serious ones like bleeding or clots in the brain.
Transient loss of consciousness is another commonest reason to visit a neurologist and on evaluation we can zero on the etiology like syncope/epilepsy and plan treatment accordingly. A neurologist may ask for an EEG which evaluates the superficial electrical activity of the brain and clarify the cause of seizure and any requirement for treatment.
Stroke is a serious neurological disease and can happen due to blockage in blood vessels due to clots or due to bleeding in the brain. Early diagnosis and prompt management can save life and avoid serious disability. There is a proverb to keep in mind in treatment of stroke which is “TIME IS BRAIN”.
Spinning sensation or vertigo results from various etiologies like ear fluid imbalance, or some inflammation/ tumor/ stroke in regions of the brain controlling balance. Early differentiation among the etiologies can avoid serious consequences.
Numbness or tingling in one or more extremities is another common reason for seeking neurologist consultation. Patients may need specialized tests like nerve conduction studies to find the cause of it and plan treatment.
Parkinson’s disease can present with shaking in limbs, slowness of movements and stiffness in body, balance issues. There are several Parkinson’s-like disorders which also can present similarly. There is no cure for it, but a neurologist may advise some treatment which improves the quality of life of a patient.
Memory disorder is another domain of neurologists, and a patient can be helped with early diagnosis and treatment to lead a relatively independent life.
Why is neuroscience important?
Neuroscience affects many, if not all, human functions, but it also contributes to a better understanding of a wide range of common conditions.
A greater understanding of neurological factors can help in developing medications and other strategies to treat and prevent these and many other health issues