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Neurological Problems Tips

Mental Problems - How To Avoid It In Old Age?

Mental Problems - How To Avoid It In Old Age?

Older people are at a higher risk of developing mental disorders as with age the neurology of the brain tends to deteriorate. Various physical illnesses such as chronic pain and bone disorders which are common in older people can restrict their ability to live an independent life. Most of the diseases that affect older people tend to require long term care.

Other causes of mental disorders are events like the death of near ones, disabilities or a reduction in socioeconomic status. These factors can make them isolated and lonely leading to psychological problems in the elderly. Physical diseases such as heart problems may also lead to mental problems. 

With respect to the above points, you may follow these pointers to stay away from mental disorders

1. Physical exercise
It is very important to stay active as it has multiple health benefits. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the body. In case of movement restrictions, focus on doing simple activities like walking and moving about as a replacement for regular exercise.

2. Food 
Food is important to mental health as they provide the necessary nutrients to the body. Add almonds to your diet as they contain vitamin B6 which is very good for the brain. Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids in almonds also contribute to brain health. Eat a diet that is low in fat, focus on simple and natural foods. 

3. Communicate
Take up a hobby or participate in social gatherings to get more involved with people. These activities will keep your mind occupied and stimulate your brain. It will reduce the risks of depression and related disorders.

4. Remove negative emotions 
Try to avoid negative emotions as they are the major source of depression. Take up meditation as their effect on improving mental health is well known. Focus on the positives in every experience to be content and happy. Negative emotions can lead to serious mental problems such as depression and anxiety disorders.
 

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High Cholesterol Level - Does It Lead To Carotid Disease?

High Cholesterol Level - Does It Lead To Carotid Disease?

Carotid artery disease occurs when an oily, waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the carotid arteries. These are arteries that supply oxygenated blood to your brain, face, scalp, and neck.
Carotid artery disease is very serious as it can cause a brain stroke. It, in fact, starts with damage to the inner layer of the carotid artery. To stem this damage your body starts a healing process and this leads to a build up of plaque at the point where the artery is damaged.

When this plaque ruptures, platelets are rushed in and these create an obstruction to the flow of blood to the brain. When the blood supply to the brain is cut off, which happens in carotid disease, the brain cells begin to die causing a stroke. This neural death impairs the parts of the body that these brain cells control. So, you can get paralyzed, become speech or vision impaired, have long –term effects like paralysis or even die due to a stroke.

Causes of carotid disease

  1. Smoking
  2. High cholesterol levels
  3. High blood pressure
  4. High levels of sugar in the blood due to diabetes

What’s even more worrisome is that carotid artery disease may not cause any signs or symptoms until the carotid arteries are severely narrowed or blocked. And what usually happens is that a stroke becomes the first sign of the disease.

How scary is that?
So, the next question that comes to the mind is - Can this condition be cured? Let’s learn more about management and prevention of the same-

Prevention
Lifestyle changes are key. Since hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, sedentary lifestyles and imbibing too much fat are all risk factors, taking care of them minimizes the risk of carotid disease and strokes. Healthy lifestyle changes that include moderate exercise are a great way to prevent carotid disease.

Treatments
Treatments for carotid artery disease include:

Medicines: Sometimes lifestyle changes do not stem the rot. You need medicinal help. Doctors usually prescribe statin medications to control your cholesterol levels. These lower the bad cholesterol that can narrow your carotid arteries and cause brain strokes and damage. Statins are usually prescribed for people who have:

  • Heart disease
  • Those who’ve had a stroke
  • Diabetes
  • High LDL or bad cholesterol levels

Medicines like Aspirin and Clopidogrel to prevent blood clots are the mainstay treatment if you suffer from carotid disease. They prevent platelets from clumping together inside your carotid arteries and forming blood clots. Apart from these, your doctor may also medicate you for conditions that can damage your carotid arteries and cause strokes. These medicines are for lowering your BP, blood sugar levels, preventing the formation of blood clots anywhere in your body including inside your heart, and preventing and reducing inflammation.

Medical Procedures
These are used to open narrowed or blocked carotid arteries.

The two common procedures are:
Carotid endarterectomy: It’s mainly for people whose carotid arteries are blocked 50 percent or more. In this, the inner lining of the carotid artery that is blocking blood flow is removed.
Carotid artery angioplasty and stenting: Here, doctors use a procedure called angioplasty to widen the blocked carotid arteries and restore blood flow to the brain. A stent is inserted into your carotid artery to broaden the lumen.

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What Are Different Neurological Disorders?

What Are Different Neurological Disorders?

The brain is like the central processing unit of a computer that controls the entire body’s function. Both structurally and functionally, it is an extremely complex and vital organ and disorders occur due to a variety of reasons – old age, internal injury, accidents/trauma, infections, and malignancy being the most common. The brain has a highly sophisticated network of nerves which arise out of it and the spinal cord and ensures the body works in complete synchrony and coordination. The neurological disorder is a generic term that is used to denote problems in all these – brain, spinal cord, and associated nerves.

The different categories of neurologic disorders include are listed below along with some details on how they affect the individual as a whole.

  1. Developmental defects like spina bifida and hydrocephalus
  2. Genetic disorders like Huntington’s disorder and muscular dystrophy
  3. Infections (bacterial, viral, parasitic) are another major category of neurological disorders, causing symptoms both from the infection per se and aftereffects.
  4. Degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, different types of dementias, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, etc.
  5. Traumatic injuries as a result of sports, accidents, etc.
  6. Functional issues like epilepsy, migraine and other headaches
  7. Vascular issues like stroke and haemorrhages.
  8. Malignancy including benign and malignant brain tumours
  9. Malnutrition related disorders.

Let us look at some of the most common ones

  1. Epilepsy: This happens due to inappropriate firing in the brain, resulting in convulsions. While it is hereditary in some people, the exact cause is not identified in most people. Effective medications are available which can completely cure the condition.
  2. Stroke: When a blood vessel is blocked due to plaque formation, blood supply is cut off to that part of the brain, leading to paralysis and sometimes even death. Timely intervention can, however, lead to the arrest and even reversal of symptoms.
  3. Parkinson’s disease: This is gradual degeneration causing reduced pace of movements (bradykinesia), tremors of the hands and feet, rigidity of movements, and loss of balance. The disease progression happens over a number of years, and it is usually genetic. Medications are available to manage the condition, but a complete cure is still under evaluation.
  4. Headaches: While headache can be a disorder in itself, it is also often the symptom of another neurological disorder. Migraines are very common, especially in women, and are characterised by throbbing, pounding headaches associated with sensitivity to light and noise and vomiting. There are usually triggers like menstruation, chocolates, alcohol, etc., which can be managed. Medications are useful in controlling the pain symptoms.

If detected in the early stages, the progression of most neurological disorders can be arrested and in some cases, symptoms even reversed.
 

Causes And Symptoms Of Alien Hand Syndrome!

Causes And Symptoms Of Alien Hand Syndrome!

Alien Hand Syndrome or AHS is a neurological disorder that causes the patient's hand to move involuntarily. The individual has no control over the movement of the hand and sometimes, he or she may not even be aware of the action! The patients often report feeling like their hand does not belong to them anymore. The disease has no cure but the symptoms can be treated and reduced. Usually, the hand is kept occupied constantly by holding a light object. 

Causes of Alien Hand Syndrome Though the exact causing factor of AHS is unknown, there are a number of instances which have been shown to influence the development of the condition. The chief factors are: 

1. Brain injury Injury caused to the brain by blunt force trauma or faulty surgery can lead to Alien Hand Syndrome. This is particularly seen if the frontal lobe (the brain center of voluntary movement) or the corpus callosum (the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain) is affected. These are the areas that regulate motor functioning and the neural pathways to execute the actions. 

2. Brain tumor A tumor (a mass of abnormal cells) pressing on the motor centers of the brain can cause involuntary movements of the left hand in a right-handed person. This is because the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa. Tumors blocking the neural pathways usually cause errant movements of the predominant hand. 

3. Neurodegenerative conditions Diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Creutzfeldt & Jakob Disease are characterized by memory loss, rapid changes in personality and growth defects in the central nervous system. AHS could be a complication of such disorders. Effects of Alien Hand Syndrome This is an extremely rare condition. There have been less than 80 known cases around the world since 1908. 

The disorder is often unreported because it is mistaken for a psychiatric problem due to its unusual symptoms and effects. 

1. The patient may not even be aware of what his 'alien hand' is doing. The hand may even begin functioning of its own accord when the patient is asleep. 

2. AHS can result in feelings of guilt and shame because of the embarrassing actions of the hand that the patient has absolutely no control over. The hand is often said to be governed by primal animalistic urges of hitting others, tearing clothes off etc. 

3. The condition often leads to social anxiety, depression and paranoia.

Neurological Disorders - Know Common Forms Of Them!

Neurological Disorders - Know Common Forms Of Them!

The brain is like the central processing unit of a computer that controls the entire body’s function. Both structurally and functionally, it is an extremely complex and vital organ and disorders occur due to a variety of reasons – old age, internal injury, accidents/trauma, infections, and malignancy being the most common. The brain has a highly sophisticated network of nerves which arise out of it and the spinal cord and ensures the body works in complete synchrony and coordination. The neurological disorder is a generic term that is used to denote problems in all these – brain, spinal cord, and associated nerves.

The different categories of neurologic disorders include are listed below along with some details on how they affect the individual as a whole.

  1. Developmental defects like spina bifida and hydrocephalus
  2. Genetic disorders like Huntington’s disorder and muscular dystrophy
  3. Infections (bacterial, viral, parasitic) are another major category of neurological disorders, causing symptoms both from the infection per se and aftereffects.
  4. Degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, different types of dementias, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, etc.
  5. Traumatic injuries as a result of sports, accidents, etc.
  6. Functional issues like epilepsy, migraine and other headaches
  7. Vascular issues like stroke and haemorrhages.
  8. Malignancy including benign and malignant brain tumours
  9. Malnutrition related disorders.

Let us look at some of the most common ones

  1. Epilepsy: This happens due to inappropriate firing in the brain, resulting in convulsions. While it is hereditary in some people, the exact cause is not identified in most people. Effective medications are available which can completely cure the condition.
  2. Stroke: When a blood vessel is blocked due to plaque formation, blood supply is cut off to that part of the brain, leading to paralysis and sometimes even death. Timely intervention can, however, lead to the arrest and even reversal of symptoms.
  3. Parkinson’s disease: This is gradual degeneration causing reduced pace of movements (bradykinesia), tremors of the hands and feet, rigidity of movements, and loss of balance. The disease progression happens over a number of years, and it is usually genetic. Medications are available to manage the condition, but a complete cure is still under evaluation.
  4. Headaches: While headache can be a disorder in itself, it is also often the symptom of another neurological disorder. Migraines are very common, especially in women, and are characterised by throbbing, pounding headaches associated with sensitivity to light and noise and vomiting. There are usually triggers like menstruation, chocolates, alcohol, etc., which can be managed. Medications are useful in controlling the pain symptoms.

If detected in the early stages, the progression of most neurological disorders can be arrested and in some cases, symptoms even reversed.
 

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Self Test For Neurological Problems!

Self Test For Neurological Problems!

It is very important for any individual suffering from a neurological disorder to take medical assistance. The possible neurological condition can be diagnosed by doing some medical examinations. Some of the examinations that are conducted for diagnosis include a neurological exam, genetic screening, brain scans and many other tests.

Malfunction of the brain can be caused in more than one region of the brain like frontal cortex, anterior cingulate, Parietal cortex and Basal ganglia. It is very important that symptoms are noticed and required tests are done immediately. In case of malfunctioning in the Basal ganglia, there are chances that patients experience more anxiety and avoid clashes in life excessively.

Self - assessment test for neurological disorders

  • Self-assessment and self-administered tests can identify the presence of the neurological disorder, but it is best to seek medical assistance in such cases. The self-assessment tests can be done by an individual when they face symptoms like problems in urinating, difficulty in concentrating, problems with writing and holding objects, and experiencing blurred vision.
  • It is important for an individual facing complaints like a headache, numbness in the arms or legs, changes in behaviour, fatigue, blurry vision, slurred speech, weakness and changes in coordination to contact a medical professional. The thought of neurological disorder itself is very threatening and understanding the drug options available is very important.

Medications Used
The type of medication prescribed to the patients depends mainly on the condition of the neurological disorder. Some of the drugs that are prescribed include corticosteroids. These are provided for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and decrease inflammation. Levodopa is a drug used mainly for treating Parkinson’s disease. In addition to physical examination and complete medical history, the diagnostic procedures that are carried out for neurological disorders include Computer Tomography scan (CT scan), Electroencephalogram (EEG), Electromyography (EMG) and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Important Tips to Consider
The drugs used for treating neurological disorders also cause some side effects. In some cases, patients even develop a drug addiction. In such cases, the two critical components of drug addiction like withdrawal and dependence should be understood very well. Dependence on the drug occurs mainly when the patient takes the medication for a prolonged period of time. Further, depending on the nature of the medication and personal situation of the patient, addiction develops quickly. The patient tends to experience withdrawal symptoms if they become dependent on the medication and when they abruptly stop taking it. The symptoms that are caused in this situation include nausea, tremor, and headache. There are many other diagnostic tests also carried out that are useful and prevent further damage to the nervous system.
For more information, you must contact a medical professional near you.

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Reasons To See A Neurologist!

Reasons To See A Neurologist!

The brain is a very complex organ, both structurally and functionally, and presents with symptoms elsewhere in the body if there is a problem within. It is akin to a central processing unit of a computer which controls the functioning of the entire body. In addition to ageing, trauma, injury, and infection can also lead to neurological symptoms which require intervention by a neurologist.

The following are some common symptoms indicative of the need to see a neurologist.

  1. Numb chin syndrome (NCS): This sudden numbness is often unilateral and has no dental/oral cause. NCS could either be the first indication of multiple sclerosis or systemic malignancy. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, and small cell lung cancer are shown to metastasize first to the trigeminal area and so numbness in the chin should be further investigated.
  2. Muscle twitches: The quivering, twitching and flickering of certain muscles is common for most of us, which is medically known as fasciculations. These occur due to muscle overuse, tiredness, or due to old age. However, when these get progressive, spread to more and more muscles, and are more regular, then it is a cause for concern. This could be the first indication of underlying motor neurone disease, and it is good to rule it out in the early phase.
  3. Poor vision: Vision is blurred or lost for short periods of time, usually affecting both eyes and lasting for just about a few seconds. This happens due to increased intracranial pressure, which causes sudden vision loss. However, it could also be due to underlying brain tumours that are enlarging and encroaching intracranial space.
  4. Bowel/bladder incontinence: Inability to control bowel or bladder movements along with symptoms like leg stiffness could mean spinal cord compression and should be discussed immediately with a neurologist. Left unattended, it could progress and lead to severe complications.
  5. Droopy eyelid: Whether or not it is painful, whether or not it is seen on both sides, a droopy eyelid is definitely a cause for concern. This could be due to aneurysm of an artery which can press on the cranial nerve and cause more severe symptoms.
  6. Banging headache: A headache as if someone hit you with a cricket bat could be the result of an internal haemorrhage in the subarachnoid space. Diagnosis needs to be confirmed with a lumbar puncture to see if the fluid has blood in it.
  7. Saddle anaesthesia: A tumour in the spinal column compressing on the lower spinal nerves presents as loss of anaesthesia around the genitals and buttocks. This again needs to be immediately looked at by the neurologist.

If you have any of the above symptoms, visit your neurologist, and ruling out serious causes is reason enough to cheer!

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Neurological Diseases - How To Tackle It Naturally?

Neurological Diseases - How To Tackle It Naturally?

Malfunctioning of the brain or the central nerves system is what causes the different kinds of neurological disorders to occur. A number of psychological, environmental and biological reasons are the main cause of multiple neurological disorders. There are around 600 neurological disorders which are found out till date where a number of these disorders can completely disrupt your life within no time. Very often people do not understand the problem they are facing, as the detection of symptoms happens much later. People who suffer from any kind of neurological disorders should be careful about their diet and can use numerous home remedies to treat some neurological diseases without any side effect.

1. Regular Exercising
Exercising is not just a technique used to help your body stay fit and healthy, but is also required for your brain to be active. Regular exercising is absolutely essential for staying healthily and happily for a long period of time. Just like your body, your brain also needs its daily dose of exercise. Activities which challenge your brain like solving a puzzle or playing Sudoku helps you keep your mind working in a way it is not used to. This natural and simple remedy can help a lot of people who face different kinds of neurological problems.

2. Relaxation Techniques for Brain
When a person suffers from any kind of neurological disorder, it is very important for them to relax their brain regularly Very common neurological diseases like anxiety, depression, and multiple sclerosis are some of the disorders which can be cured with relaxation techniques. Mental toxins can be cleared with yoga and deep breathing as these techniques help in relieving the stress of the body. Relaxation techniques like yoga help in calming the mind and helps in the better flow of oxygen. This natural method of curing neurological disorders has been used for centuries and has proven its worth in the world of science.

3. Maintaining a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is very important to help manage different kinds of neurological disorders. A person suffering from any kind of neurological disorder needs to maintain a healthy diet to see a significant change in his/her health. Eating the right type of food at the right time is really important for patients suffering from neurological disorders. Doctors prescribe foods which are rich in Vitamin C, E, B and B6. Eating high saturated fat food can help you manage the problem.
 

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Sciatica Pain - What Are The Symptoms Of It?

Sciatica Pain - What Are The Symptoms Of It?

Sciatica is a neurological condition that mainly arises due to problems in the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is believed to be the largest nerve originating from the spinal nerves L4 to S3. It extends downward from the lower spine into the back of each leg (thighs) right down to the foot. The sciatic nerve acts as a connecting link between the spinal cord and the foot and the leg muscles. People with sciatica often experience a tingling sensation along with a shooting pain radiates downwards from the lower back (mostly the lumbar region) to the back of one of the legs. Some may also experience the sciatic pain down both the legs (rare).

Types of Sciatic Pain:

Sciatica that affects a person can be of two types depending on the severity of the associated symptoms

  • Acute sciatic pain: In this case, a person experiences a sudden radiating pain which often heals by itself within a week or two. More than often, the pain is triggered by an injury to the spinal joints, nerves, or the disc.
  • Chronic sciatic pain: This is a more serious condition where the pain may linger for long, often more than three months. The chronic sciatic pain may affect a person with severe Arthritis and nerve injury and damage.

Symptoms associated with Sciatica:

  • One of the characteristic symptoms of Sciatica is a shooting pain that radiates from the lower back (often the lumbar) to the back of one (or both) of the legs.
  • In some, the sciatic pain may result in weakness and a tingling sensation down the affected leg.
  • A person with sciatica may find it difficult to move his/her foot and legs (restricts their movement).
  • Some people may experience a shooting pain even while they are in a sitting position. In some others, the pain may be at its worst when a person is in a standing position.
  • Sciatica can also trigger a hip pain.

What triggers sciatica and the associated symptoms?

  • The disc is a protective shield that prevents any damage or injury to the vertebrae. A degenerative disc problem can interfere with the normal functioning of the disc triggering sciatica.
  • Spondylolisthesis: In Spondylolisthesis, also known as a Slip Disc, a bone (mostly in the lumbar region) slips over the bone which is located just below it. People with prolonged and untreated spondylolisthesis are often known to suffer from sciatica.
  • The sciatic pain can also affect a woman during her pregnancy.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: This condition is is characterized by the spinal canal narrowing down in the lumbar region. Lumbar spinal stenosis exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve, giving rise to sciatica.
  • A muscular strain or spasm in the buttocks can also be a contributing factor.

Proper management and prevention for sciatica are possible. One should be alert and consult a doctor in case they experience the associated symptoms or any discomfort.

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Somatic Symptoms - How To Tackle Them?

Somatic Symptoms - How To Tackle Them?

Somatic Symptoms is also known as Somatization Disorder or Somatoform Disorder. It is a type of mental disorder which causes many bodily symptoms. The symptoms may or may not be noticeable for medical treatment. However, they normally cause excessive levels of distress. The symptoms may be related to one or more body organs and body system.

Some of them could be:

  1. Neurologic problems

  2. Pain

  3. Sexual symptoms

  4. Gastrointestinal complaints

In most cases, people experience Anxiety Disorder along with Somatic Symptom Disorder.

Symptoms of Somatic Symptoms Disorder (SSD)

One of the most common symptoms of SSD is pain and fatigue. However, there are other symptoms as well that exist like excessive behavioral and emotional changes, which cause chronic mental issues. Apart from pain and fatigue, people with SSD often feel excessive thoughts, like:

  1. They constantly worry about illness

  2. They view normal physical sensation as a symptom of some serious disease

  3. They have a feeling that treatment and medication is not adequate

  4. They think that normal sensations are harmful and threatening

  5. They think that physical activities may damage the body

  6. They keep checking their body abnormalities often

  7. They are sensitive to medication and unresponsive to any treatment

Causes of Somatic Symptom Disorder

The reason behind Somatic symptom disorder is still not clear. However, over the years, researchers have come to identify some causes that might lead to Somatic Symptoms Disorder. They are as follows:

  1. Biological and genetic traits might cause this

  2. Too much negativity in one’s personality

  3. Paying more attention to pain and be regularly concerned about it

  4. Some past Trauma or stressful event can also have a negative effect

  5. Severe Anxiety

Treatment of Somatic Symptoms Disorder

The treatment of somatic symptom disorder involves therapy, medication, or a combination of both, depending upon the condition of this disorder.

Medication:

One of the common medicines used to cure this disease is antidepressant. These help in reducing anxiety and stress. They work best with a combination of some physical exercise and a healthy diet. However, one needs to consult a doctor before taking these medicines, as they may have side effects. Also, medication alone might not do any good and it is better if it is accompanied by a Psychotherapy as well.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is one of the most effective way to cure and reduce anxiety. Usually, doctors advise this therapy for patients which are in the beginning stages of SSD. Such a therapy is aimed at identifying the root cause of SSD and then addressing those. A lot of times, a psychologist might find that there could be a past event that might cause constant negative thoughts, that leads to SSD. In such cases, the expert will work on getting over those negative thoughts. In some cases, the expert might also choose to prescribe medication, especially in the extreme cases, so as to instantly bring down the stress and depression levels.

Conclusion:

Somatic Symptoms Disorder is a worrying condition. This can cause both an emotional as well as physical problems. If someone sees symptoms that might indicate the presence of Somatic Symptoms, then he/she should immediately consult an experienced medical professional. An expert will be able to evaluate the exact condition and then devise the plan of action based on that.

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