As people age, we will experience a lot of changes in our body. It may affect any part, any organ, or any system of the body. With old age, it is a given that our body systems will deteriorate. The most common disease people may get from old age are those that affect the brain and the nerves.
Introduction to Neurological Disorders
A neurological disorder, as its name suggests, is a kind of degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system of the body; particularly the nerves, the spinal cord, and the brain. They are caused by infections in the nervous system – this may be from foreign bodies like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites – or due to an immune response to the said infection.
According to the World Health Organization, around a hundred millions of people around the world are affected by these disorders. Also, millions of people are added to the statistics of those with neurological disorders almost every year.
Types of Neurological Disorders
There are various types of neurological disorders, the most common ones are:
This kind of neurological disorder is one that greatly affects a person’s memory. This is common for people of old age. Alzheimer’s is related to dementia (another neurological disorder), but in the case of Alzheimer’s, it gets worse after a few years. The symptoms vary from mild memory loss to failure to converse with other people and failure to respond to situations or the environment. This condition may be considered fatal.
A person with Bell’s Palsy experiences paralysis of certain muscles, particularly on the face.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This disorder is affecting the median nerve from the carpal tunnel – which is a passageway made of ligament and bones that keep the median nerve. The carpal tunnel can be described as a connection between the wrist and the hands.
Cerebral Palsy affects the muscles that control body movements. This condition does not worsen over time. The cause of Cerebral Palsy is caused by irregularities in the part of the brain that is responsible for such muscle movements.
Dementia usually happens to people with old age, but at the same time it may also happen to anyone whose ages are in adulthood. This degenerative disease affects the cognitive function of the brain, this may either be due to damage or disease.
Meningitis is a fatal neurological disease. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and also from other sources like cancer, medications, and physical injury. This disease specifically affects the person’s brain and spinal cord, where it causes inflammation.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects a person sleeping pattern; either the person will not be able to sleep properly at night (insomnia) or may even fall asleep anytime and anywhere.
This disease is common for people aged 50 and up. It is where the movement of the person becomes uncontrollable since the brain cells that control the motor system of the body gets affected. Parkinson’s Disease may be associated with trembling of certain parts of the body, slow movement, and difficulty in balancing.
Out of all the given neurological disorders, there is one that has an increasing number of a million people every year who gets this disease – dementia.
An Introduction to Dementia
If you had a chance to watch an animated movie titled “COCO”, you’ll be familiar with the woman with whom the movie was named after.
Mama Coco, or simply Coco, is an old woman with a noticeable sickness that suggests a memory loss. Though the movie did not specifically name what Coco has been experiencing, there were clear signs that the woman has what we call dementia.
Dementia is described as a neurological disorder. It is, however, not normal for even people with old age to have this disorder. This condition happens when the human brain degenerates, affecting the cognitive function of the brain.
The cognitive function of the brain functions for the acquisition of knowledge and information that will, later on, help the person respond to his surroundings.
In the case of Coco, there were times that she forgot her own daughter, and she fails to respond properly to what’s happening around her. From there, dementia can be seen as a neurological disorder that greatly affects the person in terms of their daily activities; which they cannot normally do anymore and their personal relationship with people.
Lewy Body Disease
There are different kinds of dementia, but let us focus on one specific kind: the Lewy Body Disease.
What are Lewy Bodies?
Lewy bodies are abnormalities formed in the nerve cells; thus, creating a hindrance in the normal function of the brain.
Symptoms of Lewy Body Disease
Like any normal dementia, a person with Lewy body disease experiences trouble when remembering information they previously acquired and also when recalling people they personally met.
Aside from the two common symptoms, there are other more that can be considered:
- Inability to stay focused; especially when called for their attention
- Experiences hallucinations
- Experiences difficulty in doing certain movements
- Problems in posture
- Stiffness of the muscles
- Experiences confusion at times
- Total memory loss
Most of these symptoms get more fatal over time. Such treatments and medications must be provided to LBD patients as soon as possible.
Treatment of Lewy Body Disease
So far there have been multiple treatments and medications discovered for LBD. However, we must be aware that there are certain effects for each of them.
This medication is more commonly used as a treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease. But as time goes by, research showed that it is somehow pretty responsive to patients with LBD. Cholinesterase inhibitors are specifically used to treat the cognitive symptoms of the patient.
Antipsychotic medications may help the patient with LBD in terms of their hallucinations. These are advised by doctors when the hallucinations are starting to become unusual and upsetting.
Melatonin and clonazepam
These medications are known to treat conditions like seizure, panic disorders, and such. But in the case of Lewy body disease, they are used to treat REM sleep behavior disorders for patients.