5 Common Neurodegenerative Disorders that Affect Most Americans

Neurodegenerative disorders are a group of conditions where the brain cells degenerate and die at an accelerated rate. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and other debilitating movement disorders. Neurodegenerative diseases tend to be chronic in nature with no current cure or treatments for long-term relief. However certain symptoms can be managed to help promote better quality of life for patients along with their families and caretakers.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to exceed 7 million by 2025. While there is no cure for this neurodegenerative disorder, early diagnosis can lead to interventions that slow down progression of symptoms and enable the patient to live a better quality of life longer.

Other neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease as well as many forms of dementia have similar characteristics but slightly different treatments.

Neurological disorders affect millions of people in the United States alone every year. What's more, most don't even know they're suffering from one. That's why understanding the symptoms of the most common ones is crucial, helping you get the help needed immediately. 

With an estimated 8.3 million Americans living with a neurological disorder, it is important to know how to locate top physicians and hospitals that are treating these conditions in your area. 

Below are the most common neurological disorders found by the CDC:

Headache

Headaches are the most common neurological disorder in Americans. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), over 30 million people suffer from chronic headaches each year, with women being 60% more likely than men to have this type of pain. 

Chronic headache sufferers can experience a breathtaking array of symptoms: sensitivity to light/sound, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc. Fortunately for those who do suffer from these frequent headaches there is help available through your trusted chiropractor.

Headaches are the most common neurological disorder in Americans, and the most common causes that may cause recurring headaches are the following:

  • High Blood Pressure - Due to this condition affecting the blood-brain barrier, it results in severe headaches. If you have a headache that is severe and does not go away, take note. There are two types of headaches - primary and secondary. The former indicates there is something wrong with the body while the latter is caused by external factors such as stress or dehydration. 

Headaches can also be sub-categorized into three groups: tension/muscle contraction headaches, vascular headaches (caused by blood vessels) and cluster headaches (which are recurrent). There’s no reason to worry if you suffer from this type of headache as they aren’t fatal but it may help your doctor to understand what exactly happened in order to address them properly.

  • Temporal Arteritis - Temporal arteritis is an inflammatory condition of the arteries in the head and neck that can cause severe pain, headaches, vision loss and dizziness among other symptoms. The condition often affects people over the age of 60.

Seizures

Seizures affect every 1 in 100 Americans, with signs and symptoms vary. Seizures are a symptom of a few different disorders, such as epilepsy, stroke or brain tumors. They can also stem from drug use. The first step in diagnosing a seizure is to understand what the symptoms are and how severe they may be. 

Knowing when to call 911 is advised if someone you love has an underlying disorder that causes seizures because their health could deteriorate rapidly if they have more than one seizure in the same day.depending on the severity of episodes.

The most common ones include:

  • Cognitive or Emotional Symptoms - This includes fear, anxiety, or deja vu. 
  • Loss of Consciousness - Those who suffer from seizures often have reduced awareness. 
  • Uncontrollable Jerking Movements - This usually happens on the arms and legs. 

Dementia

Dementia is a type of brain disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It’s not the same as Alzheimer's disease. Dementia can happen at any age, but it most commonly affects older adults. There are different types of dementia and symptoms vary from person to person, although memory loss is the most common symptom in all forms of dementia.

Dementia is an umbrella term referring to a diagnosis describing a particular group of diseases such as Alzheimer's causing your brain to fail. The condition becomes more likely to happen as a person gets older, leading to continuous loss of brain tissue, affecting: 

  • Memory - Dementia is a broad term that describes the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. There are more than 40 different types of dementia, but they all have one thing in common: memory impairment. 
  • Thinking - The uncertainty of remembering and forgetting memories can affect one's train of thought. 

With an aging population, dementia is set to become a major health concern. While the exact cause of dementia isn’t known, it is believed that there are various factors that contribute to it. In fact, the risk for developing this condition increases with age and affects more women than men. It can affect your memory in several ways and interfere with basic bodily functions such as eating or walking.

Stroke

Stroke affects over 795,000 Americans every year and usually happens when you experience damage to the brain due to the arteries leading to and within the brain getting damaged. 

A stroke can cause serious damage to the patient’s brain, including impairment of speech and motor skills.

It can be challenging to anticipate a stroke, but signs to look out for include: 

  • Blurred Vision - Temporary blindness may also happen. 
  • Confusion - The person suffering from a stroke may have trouble speaking or understanding. 
  • Loss of Balance - Stroke can cause severe dizziness, leading to impaired bodily functions. 

 Parkinson's Disease

If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it is important for you to know the tell tale signs. The condition was first identified by James Parkinson in 1817 and has affected millions of people since then. 

Parkinson's disease is a common occurrence in elderly individuals. It's a progressive nervous system disorder affecting one's movement and generally worsens over time. 

Common symptoms of this medical condition include: 

  • Muscle Stiffness - This can happen throughout your body. In some cases, it can be challenging to swing your arms while walking. 
  • Reduced Sense of Smell - Most individuals with Parkinson's disease will experience a gradual loss of their sense of smell. 
  • Stiff Face - In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, the affected individual's face may start showing minimal to no expression.
  • Speech Changes - People with Parkinson's disease can develop soft or slurred speech. 
  • Tremor - This typically begins in your hands or fingers.

How Can A Chiropractor Help You?

With the abundance of information available, it can be hard to know what is fact and what isn’t. There are many myths about neurological disorders that can have a negative impact on your life.

Living with any neurological disorder can be challenging. That's why ensure you understand the crucial signs of the most common neurological conditions to help you determine when you or a loved one require immediate medical attention and receive the appropriate treatment when necessary. 

Chiropractors are medical doctors who specialize in a form of treatment called spinal manipulation. These procedures can be used to treat many different conditions, including back pain and neck pain. However, they are also regularly prescribed for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer's disease.

A chiropractor helps to manage neurodegenerative disorders by focusing on improving posture and minimizing neck pain so that it does not exacerbate symptoms like tremors or muscle stiffness.

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