A headache is a continuous pain in the head that may affect the eyes, temples, nose, skin or entire head. Headache pain can be either sharp or dull. Certain types of headaches, such as migraines, tend to run in families. Headaches are more common in women, who make up 70 percent of headache sufferers. More than 45 million people in the United States experience headaches, and they are the most common reason for days lost at work and school.
Movement disorders are a category of neurological conditions that cause abnormalities in the quality and quantity of spontaneous movement. Tremors are type of movement disorder that produce involuntary shaking, particularly in the hands. Movement disorders may be caused by a nerve disease, injury, autoimmune problem or infection. Treatment for movement disorders varies depending on the underlying cause, but the goal is generally to maximize symptom relief.
A stroke occurs when there is a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain. The lack of blood supply may be the result of a blockage in an artery or a burst blood vessel in the brain. A stroke deprives brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to die. A stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment in order to minimize damage to the brain and prevent further complications.
Neuropathy is a condition characterized by damage to a nerve or group of nerves. It causes functional problems in the affected nerves, including a loss of sensation and difficulty with movement. Neuropathy can cause damage anywhere, as the peripheral nerves branch out from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and organs throughout the body. The nerves send messages to the brain about sensation and pain in each particular area, so if they are not functioning properly, complications can easily occur.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating condition that affects the central nervous system and disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. MS causes the wearing away of the myelin sheath, the protective covering of the nerves, resulting in a slowing or stoppage of the transmission of nerve impulses. Symptoms of MS vary depending on the amount of damage and the specific nerves involved, but it can gradually affect vision, speech, movement, walking and memory.
Myopathy occurs when the muscles of the body are attacked by the body's immune system. This attack damages muscle fibers, leaving numerous muscles in a weakened condition. Myopathy can cause problems with muscle tone and voluntary muscle movement. This disorder can be either genetic or acquired, and may be present at birth or develop later in life. Some types of myopathy include muscular dystrophy, congenital myopathy and inflammatory myopathy.
Memory disorders are caused by damage to neuroanatomical structures within the brain, which hinders the storage and recollection of memories. Memory disorders can be progressive or may occur as the result of traumatic head injury. They may be temporary or permanent, and include conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and amnesia. Tests of memory and cognition are administered to properly diagnose and determine the extent of the problem.
Gait and balance disorders are complex conditions related to neurological issues. These disorders cause unsteadiness and are characterized by muscle tightness, or spasticity. Gait and balance disorders are often present in patients with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis. Treatment varies, depending on the underlying cause of the disorder.
Seizures are produced by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. They may be characterized by temporary confusion, loss of consciousness, uncontrollable jerking movements, stiffening of muscles or staring spells. Seizures can be caused by a number of disorders, including epilepsy, stroke, meningitis and head injury. It is important to seek medical attention following a seizure to determine its cause and treat the problem.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive motor system disorder that occurs when certain cells within the brain begin to degenerate. In individuals with Parkinson's disease, the cells that produce dopamine, a chemical that sends signals to the brain to control movement, gradually break down. As dopamine levels decrease, the disease progresses and patients gradually lose control of their movements. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, there are treatments available to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that results in a loss of intellectual and social abilities, affecting memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia. The underlying cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown, however, it may be related to a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but there are several treatments available to help manage symptoms and slow its progression.