What Are Brain Disorders?

Brain disorders are a blanket term used to describe any degenerative condition or disability that attacks the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves).   Affecting millions of people yearly and impairing normal brain functioning, brain disorders are caused by varying factors such as genetics, spinal cord injury, trauma injury, congenital abnormalities, and an unhealthy lifestyle.

 Brain Disorders - Causes and Diagnosis

Depending on the disorder and progress, a brain disorder may be life-threatening or not.

Note, however, that even when not life-threatening, brain disorders affect the proper functioning of body organs. They can change your personality, cause confusion and destroy your brain’s tissue and nerves.

Types of Brain disorders

Some common brain disorders affecting the brain are:

1. Alzheimer’s disease

A common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a disease associated with memory loss and difficulty recalling recent events. It is prevalent in persons above the age of 60 but can occur in young adults, although symptoms will barely appear until the disease is well progressed.

In the beginning stage, Alzheimer’s causes little harm to the patient despite the confusion from memory loss. However, as the disease progresses, it begins to present harmful symptoms such as loss of body function, volatile mood swings, wandering by patients, etc.

2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Another brain disorder, ALS is a degenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a loss of voluntary muscle control that worsens over time.

Although cognitive function is seldom affected by ALS, the disease severely impacts movements like talking, swallowing, and walking, making them extremely difficult without aid.

Brain Disorders - Causes and Diagnosis

3. Head injury

Caused by trauma to the head occasioned by accident, assault, etc., a head injury can sometimes damage brain tissue, neurons, and nerves. It can also affect the brain’s ability to communicate well with the rest of the body. Examples of head injuries include concussions, strokes, and hematomas.

4. Brain Tumour

A brain tumour is caused by a collection of mass or growth resulting from abnormal cells forming within the brain. Brain tumours can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Regardless of whether they are non-cancerous, however, they are still capable of causing harm to the brain as a result of the pressure they exert on the brain.

5. Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow and oxygen to the brain are interrupted due to a blocked artery or a leaking or blocked vessel.

When the brain lacks blood/oxygen, brain cells can die, causing permanent damage that results in slurred speeches and weakness or paralysis of an arm or leg.

6. Parkinsons

A popular neurological movement disorder, Parkinson’s causes nerve cell damage and affects mobility. Depending on the progress of the illness, symptoms could range from unnoticeable tremors in the hands to full-blown loss of mobility, amongst others.

Symptoms of brain disorders

While different symptoms exist and are prominent amongst different brain disorders, here are the common prevalent symptoms amongst them all.

1. Headaches

2. Recurrent unprovoked seizures and epilepsy

3. Stroke (usually caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain).

4. Slurred speech

5. Memory loss

6. Lack of coordination

7. Tremors

8. Volatile mood changes

9. Vision loss

10. Sensitivity to light

11. Extreme mental and physical fatigue

12. Poor balance or dizziness, etc.

 Brain Disorders - Causes and Diagnosis

How Are Brain Disorders Diagnosed?

To check your brain condition and diagnose a brain disorder, a doctor will perform a neurological exam to check your vision, hearing, and balance, as well as order a CT, MRI, or biopsy to provide insight into your brain health.

When to seek help

As neurological disorders often remain hidden until life-threatening, a popular recommendation is to complete organ health examinations annually. However, should you be worried about any of the symptoms listed above, please visit your healthcare provider immediately and book your imaging tests with us