Neurological health

There are some steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing a neurological disorder.  Control risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise which can contribute to stroke and possibly other neurological issues.  Even if you do suffer from a neurological problem when you get older, the healthier you are the better you will be able to deal with it.

Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which leads to progressive deterioration of motor function due to loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.  Primary symptoms include tremor, stiffness, slowness, impaired balance and later a shuffling gait.  The University of Louisville Medical School pairs first year medical students with Parkinson's patients in the Parkinson's Buddy Program.   Application forms are here.  In Kentucky, the death rate per 100,000 people with Parkinson's is 7.09, according to the CDC. Connect with a local support group here.

ALS  is a disease of the parts of the nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.  In ALS, muscle neurons (nerve cells that control muscle cells) are gradually lost.  As these motor neurons are lost, the muscles they control become weak and then nonfunctional. ALS is also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Most patients with Multiple Sclerosis are diagnosed between the ages of 20 - 40.  Symptoms vary from patient to patient.  Most patients experience muscle weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance along with fatigue, involuntary stiffness, loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulties with concentration, speech impediments and depression. Connect with others here.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness or convulsions which are associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There are few symptoms between seizures.  Connect with others here.

Huntington's Disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain during a patient's prime working years. Connect with others here and here.

Essential Tremor is a nerve disorder characterized by uncontrollable shaking in different parts and on different sides of the body.  Areas affected often include the hands, arms, head, voice box, tongue and chin. Approximately half of the cases of ET are genetic. It is not associated with Parkinson's Disease.

Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body.  Symptoms may also include eyelid drooping, blurry vision, unstable gait, a change in facial expressioin, difficulty in swallowing, shortness of breath and impaired speech.

Peripheral Neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system, often caused by diabetes or injury.  Symptoms include tingling in the hands or feet, a feeling like you are wearing a tight glove or sock, sharp, stabbing pains, numbness in hands or feet, weak, heavy-feeling arms or legs, regularly dropping things from your hands.

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.  Symptoms and severity vary widely. To find a support group near you click here.

ADHD is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.  To find a support group near you click here.

Migraine headaches are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, typically caused by infection. Some types are preventable with a vaccine.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a numbness or tingling in the hand caused by compression of a nerve in the wrist.

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move them.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox.  Shingles is a painful rash that usually appears on one side of the body and after age 60.  It can be prevented with a vaccine.

Vasovagal Syncope occurs when the part of the nervous system that regulates heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger, leading to loss of consciousness.

Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.  Healthcare providers are legally required to report all child abuse.

Tourette syndrome is a nervous disorder characterized by involuntary repetitive movements or unwanted sounds.

A TIA, or mini-stroke, has the same symptoms as a stroke but do not last long and cause no lasting damage.  Most people who have a TIA go on to have a major stroke.

Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back and forth movement of the neck.

Support for people with a neurological diagnosis can be found here  or here.

***The information provided on the KCHC website is provided as an informational resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

***Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The KCHC expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, or injury whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information received from the KCHC website. KCHC does not endorse specifically any information item, test, treatment, or procedure mentioned in the KCHC website.