Neurological disorders explained: Seizures

We’ve seen it on TV, in cartoons – characters getting sudden episodes of fits. It’s almost taken as a hilarious act in some shows but there’s honestly nothing funny about a fit.

Seizures, known by the layman as a fit or simply and episode, is a spontaneous change in the electrical conductivity in your brain that causes a sudden change in movement and behavior. In some forms of seizures, unconsciousness follows before the patient can recover.

_20180831_095124.JPG

Seizure is a broad term; there are actually several different types of it. Most of these episodes last for only about 30 seconds to two minutes but even this short time period is a serious cause of distress for both the patient and his loved ones.

The underlying pathology of a seizure varies from what caused it in the first place. A neurological disorder, epilepsy, is the leading cause of seizures but meningitis, high-grade fever, certain medications, low sodium levels and even a striking lack of sleep can cause a seizure to occur.

It’s important to know how you need to act if you witness someone with an episode of a fit. During the attack, it’s important that you clear other people away and remove all sharp objects from the vicinity of the patient because you never know if they might lash out. It’s also important to not hold them down or try to stop the uncontrolled movements they make. Waiting is pivotal and it’s also the most hardest.

Once the episode has safely subsided, check in with the doctor. Anticonvulsants are the first line of therapy in patients with seizures along with certain lifestyle changes such as improving sleep quality, stress management and removing triggers.

<< Previous

Advertisements

Neurological disorders explained: Parkinson’s Disease

Diseases that inch by inch rob you of your capabilities are the absolute worst and the most distressing. Be it progressive memory loss as in dementia and Alzheimer’s, or slowly losing touch of your cognition as in Parkinsonism. But there’s always a silver ling, a hope. If diagnosed in the early stages, the progression of these diseases can effectively be slowed down if not completely halted. Parkinsonism is one such disease that, if detected early on, can be appropriately managed with the support of your family and a good doctor.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by progressive neurological disorder that particularly affects movement, cognition and speech. A course tremor is characteristic of this disease as well as a small-stepped gait, rigid muscles and soft speech.

_20180829_134849

What causes Parkinsonism? Probably your genetic makeup with a little input of some toxic environmental triggers. The core problematic area in this disease is the basal ganglia in your brain that has an increased quantity of a certain protein accumulate, Lewy Bodies. Fortunately, with the marvelous advances in modern medicine, several medicines exist to improve the symptoms of a patient with Parkinsonism. There is no cure, however.

If someone you know is showing signs of Parkinsonism (mostly over the age of 60), get them to check in with their physician. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis will be for them.

<< Previous

Next>>

Neurological disorders explained: Cerebral Palsy

Statistics have shown that about 500,000 children in the US alone are victims of cerebral palsy – a debilitating group of neurological disorders that keeps a child from leading a normal life. The prime manifestations of this disease are impaired muscle movement and motor skills along with secondary disabilities that affect vision, mental health, learning, hearing and speech.

_20180822_114504.JPG

With such a high prevalence rate of cerebral palsy, it’s important to illustrate the true cause of this disease. Most children with cerebral palsy have undergone some sort of brain damage. This could have occurred during birth or in the first five years of his or her life. Brain trauma is, thus, the main etiological cause of cerebral palsy. Premature babies, lead poisoning, and meningitis are other causes that may result in a case of cerebral palsy.

Without getting into too much detail of the different types of cerebral palsies, it’s more important to know what you can do if your child has been diagnosed with it. It’s important to approach this disease and its outcomes with a strong, open mind since it is a lifelong impairing disease.

Currently no cure for cerebral palsy exists but the symptoms of this disorder can be minimized by the appropriate medication. Children with cerebral palsy commonly require special equipment and therapy to improve their quality of life.

<< Previous

Next >>

 

Neurological disorders explained: Migraine

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience with a throbbing headache on one side of your head, it could be a migraine. In fact, it probably is. This extremely common condition affects over 5 million people in the US alone; the stats are even more sobering in Pakistan.

The word migraine rolls off our tongue all the time whenever we get the slightest of headaches but is it such a casual condition?

_20180806_190235

Turns out, it can be. Only a small portion of people with migraine suffer from the more concerning aura-type migraine. In this version of the headache, vision disturbances and photosensitivity is predominant. But most people don’t go through the aura phase of a migraine and suffer only from the basic pain symptoms and associated mood disturbances, nausea and fatigue – of varying intensities of course.

We still don’t really know the true pathology behind a migraine and several theories have been proposed. But one thing is for sure: it can run in families and it can be triggered by certain noxious environmental stimuli.

Patients with severe migraine attacks are often given a list of medicines and pain relievers over a long course of period. Those with only mild pain can find relief in paracetemol or naproxen as well.

Do you suffer from recurrent migraine attacks? I’d say get an appointment with your physician and find out what can help your symptoms.

<<Previous

Next >>

Neurological disorders explained: Autism

I recently watched a TV show called ‘The Good Doctor’ – a story of an autistic medical resident with supernormal intelligence. The show highlighted the challenges and prejudices the young doctor had to face in his field because of his conditions. Lucky for him, his genius mind made things easier for him.
The truth, however, is slightly different. Not all children born with autism are so lucky.

Autism is a group of disorders that affect a child’s ability to socialize, empathize and communicate with those around him. Social, speech and behavioral problems make it difficult for autistic children to cope with the ever-changing tides of the society.

Although seldom seen (or perhaps diagnosed) in Pakistan, the condition requires attentions and knowledge to improve the child’s life. The Autism Society of Pakistan estimates a total of 350k autistic children in the country.
The important question is: is there a cure? Like most mental illnesses, there is no complete treatment for autism. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

With proper therapy and intervention, the burden of social challenges these children face can be minimized. It’s important to realize that treatment options for autistic children not only include their personal therapy but also the education of the people around him so that he is treated with greater kindness and understanding. A major problem autistic children face is bullying in schools which makes the disorder even more stressful.

If you know a child with autism, make sure he is brought to medical attention and not hidden away as an ‘abnormal’ child as is mostly done in the country. With therapy and the support of loved ones, autism can be less of a nightmare for both the child and his family.
<< Previous Next>>

Neurological Disorders Explained: Dementia

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to one day wake up and forget the name of your cat? Memory loss or dementia with increasing age is a common condition; one that affects a good percentage of people.
But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Dementia includes a set of symptoms associated the memory building, recollection and thinking process. A term familiar with dementia is the Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that affects old people and is characterized by severe dementia. Another type of dementia called the vascular dementia occurs after an episode of a stroke.

Contrary to popular belief or what you see on TV, dementia isn’t only related to slowly deteriorating memory or forgetting the names and identities of your own children. The condition begins and progresses slowly. It affects not only the memory but also communication, judgment and your ability to focus.

_20180508_113033.JPG

The early stages of dementia are usually seen as a case of short-term memory loss that slowly progresses into a distressing long-term memory loss altogether in old age. If someone around you has been showing symptoms of declining memory, it’s important to recognize it and talk to the doctor. While dementia is not treatable in its essence, an underlying condition that might be causing the derangement of the memory building process may be corrected.

 

Neurological Disorder Vs Mental illness

If you’ve ever visited a hospital (and I mean really taken your time to explore it!), you’d know that the neurology ward is completely separate from the psychiatric one. They’re never adjacent; heck, they might not be in the same building even!
Two terms that are often used synonymously by many of us are psychiatric illnesses and neurological disorders. While it’s true that the crux of the two relates to the brain, they are in reality two entirely different set of disorders and diseases.
Psychiatric or mental disorders are a group of conditions that primarily affect the personality of the individual without solid diagnostic evidence. Neurologic disorders, on the other hand, often present as a physical pathology of the brain such as a tumor that can cause not only personality and psychiatric symptoms but also other related motor and sensory symptoms.
Studies have shown that psychiatric illnesses usually involve the frontal lobe of the brain as well the visual areas whereas in neurological disorders, the pathology is widespread and not limited to a specific region.
While the two conditions are easily confused and used interchangeably, recognizing what you might be suffering from is crucial for an effective recovery. Get in touch with your physician today if you experience any symptoms of a brain disorder whether psychiatric or neurological!

<<Previous