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