Getting your brain examined can be a bit nerve-wracking. You want to make sure it’s as healthy as possible and that you are doing everything you can to avoid a serious condition.
That’s why it’s important to know the 10 most common brain diseases so you can get the right diagnosis.
Meningiomas are brain tumors that develop from the membranes of the meninges.
They are classified as either benign or malignant. Those that are malignant are characterized by cellular abnormalities and increased pressure inside the skull. Symptoms can include headache, loss of memory, vision problems, and difficulty speaking. Fortunately, most are benign.
Most meningiomas grow slowly. Treatment usually involves removal of the tumor, which may involve surgery or radiation therapy.
The size of the tumor will determine whether surgery is needed. Smaller meningiomas are often treated with radiation therapy instead of surgery.
A diagnosis of meningioma is made through a biopsy. This is performed by a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope. A neuropathologist will determine the type of tumor and its grade.
The World Health Organization classifies meningiomas into three grades, based on their histopathological appearance. Grade 3 tumors are more malignant, while grade 2 are slow growing. More malignant types of tumors have an increased likelihood of recurrence after treatment.
Malignant meningiomas can be damaging. They can cause problems with walking, speech, and balance. Some people also experience seizures, visual impairment, or swallowing difficulties. In addition, they may develop hydrocephalus, which is a condition in which the skull’s contents build up.
Patients with meningioma may have symptoms such as headaches, seizures, and memory loss. The tumors can compress the brain and spinal cord and press against important parts.
Because of the risk of complications, patients are advised to seek immediate treatment. Occasionally, the tumors invade nearby bone and other tissues, and surgery is sometimes needed early on to prevent this.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The disease causes damage to brain cells, which results in memory loss and other problems. Although the cause of the disease is unknown, scientists believe it is caused by changes in genes.
People with Alzheimer’s develop tangles of tau fibers in the brain. These tangles disrupt the normal functions of nerve cells. Nerve cells are responsible for transmitting messages between the different parts of the brain. Without this message, people can’t think clearly.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, treatments are available to slow the progression of the disease. If you or someone you love has the condition, you can get help from a doctor or a social worker. You can also participate in clinical trials to see if certain drugs will help.
Some patients experience mild cognitive impairment at first. This is the stage between normal aging and dementia. Many individuals with MCI have no signs of Alzheimer’s.
But as the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to perform simple daily tasks. They may be disoriented and have trouble with things like dressing or getting out of bed.
Memory decline is the most common symptom of Alzheimer’s. Patients have difficulty remembering recent events and identifying family members. In the late stages of the disease, memory loss is severe and people can’t perform conversation or respond to their environment.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be hard to distinguish from those of other conditions. In addition, it can be difficult to diagnose the disease. It’s best to consult a doctor. Fortunately, there are some tests that can identify Alzheimer’s.
Vascular malformations are a group of abnormalities that occur when blood vessels in the body are distorted or deformed. They can be benign, but they can also be life threatening. The treatment for a vascular lesion depends on the type of vessel involved and the patient’s age.
Vascular lesions may occur in the brain or in other parts of the body, and they can interfere with normal function. Treatment is aimed at minimizing symptoms and preventing recurrence.
Brain vascular malformations are caused by an abnormality of the veins in the brain. When they become unstable, they can rupture and release blood into the brain, causing a variety of complications. These can include brain hemorrhage and stroke.
Brain vascular malformations are typically caused by high venous pressure in the brain. This can result in brain swelling and headaches. High venous pressures can also cause stroke-like symptoms. Other symptoms of unruptured vascular malformations are seizures and changes in thinking.
Brain vascular malformations are not cancerous, but they can lead to serious complications. If a vascular malformation in the brain ruptures, it can release blood into the brain, causing numbness or loss of consciousness.
Blood vessel malformations can cause symptoms when they expand and bleed, but they can also develop on their own. Some people who have vascular malformations have no symptoms, while others have pain and other problems.
Most vascular lesions require treatment. This can involve multiple treatments, and it depends on the size and location of the lesion.
Autoimmune Brain Diseases
Autoimmune brain diseases are disorders that occur due to a malfunction of the immune system.
They can be caused by an infection or genetic mutation. These conditions can affect different regions of the brain. The symptoms vary depending on the type of autoimmune disease.
Infections and head injuries are common causes of autoimmune brain diseases. Some examples include malaria protozoa, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and amebas.
An autoimmune attack causes inflammation in nerves. This inflammation may be in the form of seizures or encephalomyelitis. It occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, a layer that covers the nerves.
An autoimmune disease can cause confusion, sleepiness, headache, and irritability. In children, it can also lead to vision loss and abnormal movements. Symptoms can be more serious in patients with a neurological illness or cancer. Children can also develop paranoia and severe depression.
Autoimmune brain diseases can be associated with cancer. In these cases, autoantibodies may be directed against neuronal cell surface proteins, synaptic receptors, or cell insulation. These types of antibodies can also be found in patients with myasthenia gravis.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. Patients develop inflammation in their optic nerves and can experience vision loss. NMO is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
Anti-Ri antibodies are often associated with anti-PCA2 antibodies. Both antibodies have been shown to be pathogenic in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, there have been reports of a high rate of preceding infection before the onset of MOG-antibody associated disease.
The first screen for autoimmune encephalitis is a radioimmunoassay for antibodies directed against the synaptic membrane. The second step is to use a Western blot assay.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause cognitive problems, unsteadiness, and confusion. However, recovery is possible. In fact, most individuals with a TBI recover functional abilities within two to four weeks.
While mild TBI is often treatable with medications, moderate and severe TBIs can require more invasive procedures and prolonged rehabilitation. Approximately 235,000 people are hospitalized for moderate to severe head injuries each year.
The severity of the injury and the symptoms vary with each person. Some patients experience significant disabilities while others are in a coma.
There are two main types of TBI: primary and secondary. A primary injury occurs at the time of impact and may involve the entire brain. Secondary injuries, on the other hand, occur weeks or months after the initial trauma.
Both primary and secondary injuries can be life-threatening. If you are experiencing a TBI, see a health care provider immediately. They can check for blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Mild TBI is usually treatable with over-the-counter pain relievers and a gradual return to normal activities. This is because the symptoms can be mild and not detectable until days after the injury.
Moderate and severe TBIs can affect a person’s physical and mental health for years. These injuries can lead to long-term behavioral problems and increased risk of dementia.
A CT scan can be used to determine how severe the damage is to the brain. Patients with a TBI can benefit from counseling and therapy to help them deal with the recovery process.
Depending on the severity of the injury, patients can expect to spend several weeks or months in the hospital. Surgery can reduce the pressure from the brain swelling.
The disease can occur at any age, though it is more common in older adults.
People with Parkinson’s usually have symptoms that begin slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms can include tremors, muscle stiffness, and sleep problems. A variety of medications are used to treat the condition, which involves stimulating the brain’s dopamine-producing cells.
The cause of the disorder is still unclear. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors interact to cause the disease. However, a single gene mutation is thought to be responsible for about five percent of inherited cases.
Researchers are working to better understand the causes of PD. One theory suggests that oxidative damage or protein misfolding may be involved. In addition, the sympathetic nervous system is thought to play a role in the condition.
Parkinson’s is a progressive, chronic, and degenerative disease. Although there is no cure, there are treatments that can slow or stop the progression of the disorder. Patients should follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations for medications and treatment.
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects millions of nerve cells in the brain. Usually, these neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that helps coordinate movements.
Eventually, these neurons stop producing dopamine. This leads to uncontrollable movement. Some of these changes can be managed, but some may not be.
Some people with PD develop dementia, which is a more severe form of the disease. In addition to motor problems, other symptoms of the disease include sleep disturbances, depression, and cognitive impairment.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is caused by abnormal brain activity. It is characterized by recurrent seizures.
It can be caused by a number of different factors, such as brain injuries, abnormalities in the brain’s wiring, metabolic disorders, and brain infections. The overall prognosis for epilepsy is favorable. However, misdiagnosis can lead to premature deaths.
There are two main types of epilepsy. General onset seizures and focal seizures. Focal seizures are much more common than generalized seizures. They involve more areas of the brain.
Seizures may occur for several reasons, including brain infections, autoimmune disorders, head injuries, metabolic disorders, and abnormal blood vessels. They can be treated with medication, surgery, and special diets.
Epilepsy affects around 50 million people worldwide. Although it is a lifelong condition, it can be managed. A majority of patients become seizure free with anti-seizure medicines.
Treatment is based on individual needs. For some patients, surgery or implanting a neurostimulator can be used. Others enter trials of experimental drugs. People with epilepsy should also avoid certain triggers that can cause seizures.
Anti-seizure drugs can be discontinued if they do not help. When it is time to discontinue, take into account personal factors, as well as the clinical factors that led to the decision.
Although it can be treated, the stigma that epilepsy has can discourage people from seeking treatment. However, the use of anti-seizure medications can inhibit the growth and propagation of seizures, and 60-70% of people with epilepsy can be seizure free with these medications.
MS is a complex autoimmune neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is the leading cause of non-traumatic disability in young adults in Europe and North America.
Symptoms vary widely from person to person. Some common symptoms include fatigue, poor memory, difficulty with concentration, and emotional lability.
There are treatments that can ease the symptoms of MS. Medications, including steroids, can help make MS attacks less severe. Physical therapy can also help maintain physical function.
The immune system damages the myelin sheath in the central nervous system. The loss of myelin prevents messages from traveling along the nerves. Depending on the extent of the damage, patients can have a range of symptoms.
MS is usually diagnosed through an MRI. An MRI can detect lesions in the brain or spinal cord. Other tests such as a spinal tap and lumbar puncture can also be performed.
In addition, a blood test can confirm a diagnosis of MS. Blood tests can also exclude other immunodeficient conditions.
Depending on how severe the disease is, a neurologist may recommend medications to reduce inflammation and pain. Corticosteroids can also be used to slow down the disease.
Managing stress is an important part of managing MS. Stress can cause fatigue and can interfere with sleeping. Exercise and yoga can help relieve stress. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is also recommended.
The most effective way to manage MS is through a disease-modifying treatment program. These therapies are FDA approved for long-term MS treatment. They can help delay the development of new lesions.
A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. It can cause permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the brain damage.
The most common type of stroke is an ischemic one. This is caused when the arteries that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the brain become narrow or blocked. Another common form of stroke is a hemorrhagic one, which is caused by the rupture or bleeding of a blood vessel.
If you suspect that you have a stroke, you should call your local emergency number immediately. Your provider will perform a neurological examination and a diagnostic imaging procedure to see if you have a stroke.
There are several treatments for a stroke, each of which has its own merits. For example, thrombolytic therapy can break up blood clots and reduce the risk of complications from a stroke.
Other treatments include medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also, physical therapy can improve balance and help regain muscle control.
A stroke is not a rare condition, although it is not as common as diabetes or heart disease. Approximately 15 million people suffer a stroke every year. Men and women are more likely to develop a stroke than other people.
There are three main types of stroke: ischemic, haemorrhagic, and hemorrhagic. Each type has its own set of symptoms. Symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke include bleeding inside the brain.
Ischemic stroke is the most common and is caused by a clot blocking an artery in the brain. Depending on the size of the clot, the brain may experience one-sided weakness, difficulty swallowing or speaking, and numbness or loss of feeling.
Brain Tumors – Gliomas
Gliomas are one of the most common types of brain tumors. These tumors are usually fatal, but they can be treated. Treatment options depend on the location of the tumor, the type of glioma, and the age of the patient.
Most patients who have a glioma will need surgery to remove the cancer. A surgeon will make an opening in the skull to allow the tumor to be examined and removed.
Brain tumors can also be treated with radiation, which may be applied after surgery. This type of treatment is usually given after the tumor is diagnosed.
Another way to treat gliomas is to use chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of strong drugs that work by stopping the growth of abnormal cells. The drugs are often given through an IV. However, they can also be placed into the fluid surrounding the brain through a shunt.
In addition to the above treatments, a person can participate in clinical trials to receive new treatments. A second opinion can give you peace of mind about the decision you’re making.
A genetic disorder or exposure to certain chemicals can increase the risk of gliomas. If you’re interested in these tests, discuss it with your doctor and a genetic counselor.
Gliomas can be difficult to remove. They often grow in the brain’s normal tissue, making it difficult to operate on the tumor. Your doctor might recommend another surgical procedure to get rid of the glioma.
Gliomas can also be treated with targeted therapy. Certain types of gliomas are known to be sensitive to targeted therapy, which is focused on parts of the cancer cell that are different from the healthy cells. This treatment causes less damage to the healthy cells.