What types of disorders does a neurologist treat?

Disorders of the nervous system treated by neurologists include:

  • Epilepsy: A neurological disorder associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain, causing recurrent, unprovoked seizures and loss of consciousness

  • Alzheimer’s disease (and other dementias): Progressive mental deterioration that is caused by generalized degeneration of the brain

  • Stroke (and other cerebrovascular diseases): A stroke occurs when a blood vessel is prevented from delivering oxygen and nutrients to the brain, due to a blood clot or rupture

  • Migraine (and other headache disorders): A severe, reoccurring headache often paired with nausea and disturbed vision

  • Multiple Sclerosis: A chronic disease involving damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord characterized by numbness, speech and muscular impairment, blurred vision, and severe fatigue

  • Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disease marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement; Parkinson’s is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain, and dopamine deficiency

  • Brain tumor: A mass of abnormal cells in the brain, leading to impaired cognitive function

  • Brain trauma / Spinal cord trauma (and other injuries of the nervous system): Injury to the brain from an outside force, sometimes leading to an altered state of consciousness, and permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, or psychosocial functions

  • Tourette Syndrome (and other disorders of function): A neurological disorder, coupled with involuntary tics and vocalizations, as well as the compulsive exclamation of obscenities

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease): A progressive deterioration of the motor neurons of the central nervous system, leading to muscular atrophy and paralysis

Neurologists also treat diseases that attack the nervous system, such as:

  • Infections (bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Cancers (malignant, benign)

Patients with the following symptoms typically need to see a neurologist:

  • Coordination / movement problems
  • Muscle pain / weakness
  • A change in sensation / numbness or tingling
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Speech or language difficulties

Neurologists may also treat people who are having problems with their sense of touch, vision, or smell, as sensory dysfunction is sometimes caused by disorders of the nervous system.

It is important to note that neurologists can recommend surgical treatment, but do not perform surgery. Neurosurgeons specialize in performing surgical treatment of disorders which affect any portion of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and cerebrovascular system.

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