A neurologist is a doctor who treats patients with diseases of the nervous system. We know that the nervous system consists of the brain and nerves, which are located throughout the human body. Disruptions in their functioning will cause diseases related to the nervous system and to individual organs. For this reason, observing the symptoms of so-called neurological conditions is not easy.
We discuss what should worry us and when we should see a neurologist specialist with Olga Trzciniecka, MD, a neurology specialist who provides consultation under the National Health Service in Lublin.
What problems do patients report to the neurologist most often? What do they complain about?
A common reason for a visit to a neurologist's office is pain - headache, back pain, or sciatica, or so-called "radiculosis. Patients come in with dizziness, numbness or tingling in the limbs, memory problems. Rarely is there one cause, one symptom. Most often the symptoms are several.
What symptoms should prompt a patient to see a neurologist, but are often underestimated?
Symptoms of neurological diseases are not always easy to recognize. Many times, especially in the early stages of diseases, they can be explained by exhaustion, general temporary weakness or a drop in mood. Not all problems are immediately a harbinger of serious diseases. However, if a patient is concerned about certain symptoms, he or she should see a neurologist.
These may include, for example:
- Dizziness and frequent headaches,
- unconsciousness disorder,
- memory disorders,
- Impaired balance and motor coordination,
- sensory disturbances,
- visual disturbances,
- muscle tremors,
- muscle weakness.
What neurological symptoms do patients most often underestimate?
These are the kind of symptoms that patients do not mention because they consider them insignificant or do not connect them with the problem. These are very individual issues. It often happens that patients downplay increasing symptoms of abnormal nervous system functions, such as muscle weakness or increased muscle fatigue, for example. They delay a visit because of visual disturbances, explaining the difficulties with age. They pay no attention to sleep disorders, considering them unimportant. And all these symptoms can be significant and signal disease changes.
What does a neurologist treat?
In the simplest terms, a neurologist treats diseases related to the malfunctioning of the brain, spine and muscles. He works with patients suffering from:
- degenerative diseases of the spine,
- Stroke, brain tumors,
- multiple sclerosis,
- Alzheimer's disease,
- Parkinson's disease,
- myasthenia gravis,
Many more conditions could be listed, but these seem to occur most often.
Which neurological symptoms are life-threatening?
Symptoms indicative of a stroke can be particularly dangerous, so it is important to know them in order to intervene as soon as they occur. Prompt implementation of treatment increases the patient's chances of survival and recovery. The most characteristic symptoms of a stroke include:
- weakness or paresis of the limbs on one side of the body,
- drooping of the corner of the mouth on one side of the face, lifting of only one corner of the mouth when trying to smile broadly (facial muscle weakness),
- Babbling, slurred speech,
- A sudden, sharp headache,
- sudden visual disturbances,
- Impaired balance and coordination of movements,
- Confusion, disturbance of orientation in place and time,
- loss of consciousness.
What are the rare diseases treated by a neurologist?
The neurology clinic treats patients with conditions such as, for example, Huntington's disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Many diseases manifest with symptoms from the nervous system.
When symptoms appear that may indicate a neurological condition, it is better not to delay a visit to the clinic. You can take advantage of neurological advice within the framework of the National Health Fund or commercially. Free advice is provided at CM Luxmed facilities in Lublin at 7 Orkana Street and 4D Koncertowa Street. Telephone registration at 81 532 37 11.