CNS (Central Nervous System) comprises of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain is the most important and complex organ in the human body. It consumes about 20% of the oxygen that we breathe. There are hundreds of thousands of well-connected neurons in the brain. The brain is protected by the skull. The spinal cord is connected to the back of the brain and it runs up to the lumbar region of the back.
Brain and the spinal cord are protected by a three-layered membrane and it is called meninges. The central nervous system has a great impact in controlling our emotions, movements and thoughts. It will affect our breathing, body temperature, production of hormones, heart rate and many other functions. Optic never, retina and other parts are connected to the brain directly.
CNS diseases are trauma, infections, degeneration, tumours, structural defects, stroke and an autoimmune disorder. The signs and symptoms vary from one disease to another disease.
The structure and function of the spine or brain will be affected when a person is suffering from CNS.
Some of the symptoms are listed below:
- Persistent headache
- Pain in the face
- Pain in the back
- Pain in the arms or legs
- Unable to concentrate
- Loss of feeling
- Memory loss
- Loss of muscle strength
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light, sound and smell
- If a person is suffering from a migraine, there will be frequent vomiting and nausea. The person experiences trouble in vision by finding flashing lights. The sensitivity to sound, light and smell is obvious. The patient may experience speech issues as well.
- Brain tumours will lead to trouble in memorizing things. The patient suffers from poor thinking and cognitive skills. The other symptoms are seizures, headache, and problem in walking, seeing, hearing and talking. There will be mood swings, weakness and nausea.
- Multiple sclerosis will affect the brain and spinal cord cells which are integral for the functioning of the nervous system. The symptoms that are prominent with this condition include weakness of muscles, visual disturbances, sensation (pricking to numbness) and trouble in thinking and memory.
- If there are spinal cord disorders, there will be a change in reflexes. The other symptoms are a loss of bowel movement or bladder, partial or incomplete paralysis, and severe back pain. The general weakness is profound in patients suffering from spinal cord issues.
- If there are blood clots or blocking of the blood vessel, a person might suffer from a stroke. In addition to dizziness and weakness, there will be sudden numbness in various parts such as an arm, leg and face. The person suffers from a severe headache, trouble with understanding or speaking and problem in walking. A person may lose balance and coordination as well.
- The injury to the brain or the spinal cord will lead to disability. The disability is based on the section of the spinal cord or brain affected by the injury
- Microorganism or virus will lead to infection. The infection can spread in several ways. There are some infections that affect the spine or the brain directly. Cryptococcal meningitis, malaria and leprosy are some of the infections affected by either virus or bacteria.
- If a person is affected by Parkinson’s disease, there will be degeneration of the spinal cord or brain. The dopamine-producing cells will degenerate on a gradual basis.
- Due to birth defects, parts of the brain or spinal cord are not formed properly. The structural defects will lead to various kinds of complications.
- There are cancerous and non-cancerous tumours which affect the central nervous system. The symptoms and damage are based on the area affected the body.
- If a person is suffering from the autoimmune disorder, the healthy cells in the body will be destroyed. The nerve’s insulation (myelin) will be affected when a person is suffering from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. In this process, the white matter in the body will be eliminated.
- The blood supply to the brain will be interrupted which is called a stroke. When the cells are exposed to the lack of oxygen, the tissue will die and irreversible damage will take place.
- CNS infection should be diagnosed to determine the right kind of therapy to overcome the condition.
- To diagnose the CNS disorder, the doctor will take the complete medical history of the patient. After the physical exam, various kinds of diagnostic procedures are implemented to figure out the disorder.
- Computed tomography scan (CT scan or CAT scan) – It is a diagnostic imaging procedure which uses x-rays and computer technology to figure out the disease. Horizontal as well as axial images of the body will be taken in various angles. It is possible to collect detailed pictures of the body including bones, organs, muscles and fat.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) is used to record the brains electrical activity through the electrodes.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets, radiofrequency, and a computer to record detailed images of organs and structures of the body.
- The metabolic activity of cells will be measured with Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Electrodiagnostic tests are used to evaluate and diagnose muscle disorders and motor neurons. The electrical activity and muscle response will be recorded.
- Arteriogram will be used to detect the blocks in arteries.
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture will be done to measure the pressure in the spinal canal and brain. Cerebral fluid will be collected and the possibility of infection will be found.
- A die will be injected into the spinal canal to obtain the accurate picture of the structure through x-rays. This procedure is called Myelogram.
- Blood flow in case of stroke will be analyzed with the neurosonography by using high-frequency sound waves.
- Ultrasound (sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves and computer. Images of blood vessels, organs, tissues will be captured very accurately. The internal organs, as well as their functions, can be assessed with ultrasound.
- Prevention is considered for certain conditions such as a stroke. Most of the other conditions can be focused on the post-infant phase of life. The risk factors for neurological conditions should be avoided. The risk factors include inherited biological traits such as genetic predisposition.
- The behavioural and biological factors will play an important role in preventing the condition
- Temperature and climatic conditions and geographical variations will help in managing the condition in a better way
- If you are suffering from depression, you will want to undergo psychotherapy. You will want to take the help of psychologist, psychiatrist and trained medical professional to overcome the disorder. You will learn new ways to overcome various challenges and changes that depression affects.
- If a person is suffering from sleep disorder due to CNS, the rehab management is based on the type of disorder. In most of the cases, the doctors recommend good sleep hygiene. The routines to go to bed will be changed so that there is a possibility to optimize the sleep. Patients are advised to avoid naps and they should exercise on regular basis. Coffee should be avoided before bedtime. The exercising should be avoided before going to bed. Some patients are required to use medications and devices to overcome insomnia and breathing issues.
- With the help of family members, patients can change their sleep-related issues. The patient should go through the counselling if the sleep affects the work-life balance.
- The birth defects of the CNS will be overcome through the surgical procedures. There will be defects in the structure of the brain and the spinal cord. There are various kinds of disorders and medical conditions which come under minor to major categories. In the case of microcephaly, the brain growth will be affected. With spina bifida, the spinal cord will not form properly.
- If a person is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the muscles will become stiff. There will be difficulty in the initiation and the muscles will become slow. The patient will find it difficult to maintain the balance and posture. The issues include urination problems, constipation, sleep problems, loss of smell, dementia and depression. In addition to general measures to overcome the condition, physical and occupational therapy will be implemented by medical professionals. Some patients will be benefited through the deep brain stimulation.
- The root cause of CNS disorders that arise due to tumours will be diagnosed before offering the treatment. There are chemically induced tumours, brain tumours formed due to oncogenic viruses and other factors. Certain conditions occur in children as well as adults. Doctors will explore various options including brain chemotherapy to overcome the condition.
- There is no cure for autism and it is a permanent condition. By implementing the right kind of therapy, the disruptive behaviour can be managed in the best possible way. By imparting special education, the person will become independent. If the autism is diagnosed earlier, the treatment can be initiated quickly and there will be better results. The autism varies from one person to another person. Hence, the required treatment varies as per the condition.
- The stroke in a newborn baby or children is called as cerebral venous thrombosis. It will lead to a blood clot in the venous sinuses of the brain. The flow of blood from the blood to various parts of the organs will be affected. Cerebral venous thrombosis should be taken up as a medical emergency and the patient should be admitted into the hospital immediately. In addition to IV fluids, the patient will get medications to treat blood clots and seizures.
- Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder in children. The disorder affects 3% to 7% of children. There will be a tendency to be hyperactive and the patient will be impulsive and will not pay attention. There will be behavioural and academic difficulties in a person suffering from ADHD. The treatment options for ADHD include psychological intervention, medication, special counselling and support groups.
- There is a difference between CNS and peripheral nervous system. Even though CNS and peripheral nervous system are interconnected, the peripheral nervous system is connected outside the brain and spinal cord.
- Stroke, migraine, brain tumours, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord disorders are common CNS disorders. As per the research, there are more than 600 neurological disorders. The way the disorder affects the human body should be understood and the most appropriate treatment should be offered to the patient. The recovery and normalization of the patient are based on several factors. The condition and cause should be detected at an early phase so that the patient will get the best treatment and the condition can be managed in the best possible way.
- If there are neurological issues, there will be an impact on the movement, swallowing, speaking, breathing and learning difficulties. The functioning of the brain, nerves, spinal cord and nervous system will be affected.
Myth #1: CNS disorders can be treated very efficiently – Even though most of the neuropsychiatric diseases do not have well-defined etiopathogenesis, there has been great progress on their causes. There are factors that affect genetics as well as the environment. The condition can be managed in a very efficient way by offering medication and family support.
Myth #2: CNS disorders will lead to social isolation – Patients suffering from CNS disorders should get the best support from the family and friends. There should be a broadminded approach to deal with the patients. With the institutional and community support, the social isolation can be avoided.
CNS diseases or CNS disorders are a group of neurological disorders which affect the structure of the brain or spinal cord. Your vital signs are controlled by CNS. Your ability to see, talk, move, smell and think will be affected by CNS. If a patient is suffering from neurodegenerative disease, there will be an impact on the family and society as well. Hence, early diagnosis will help in offering the best treatment to overcome the condition. In most of the cases, the condition can be managed even though there is no permanent cure for those conditions.
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