Neurologists diagnose, treat and manage disorders that affect the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves and muscles which activate movement and transmit sensation from all parts of the body to the brain).
Neurologists treat any disease of the body’s systems that affects neurological function. High blood pressure, for example, is a cardiac problem, but if it causes a stroke (a sudden loss of blood supply to the brain) the problem becomes a neurological one as well.
Neurologists also treat infectious disease such as meningitis which can cause brain damage and lead to complications like epilepsy.
They also treat peripheral nerve diseases which may result in weakness or sensory impairment.
In many cases, the diagnosis of new patients with neurological problems is by clinical assessment alone (taking a thorough history of the symptoms and physical examination), though in others there may be a need for further investigation such as blood tests, scans (CT or MRI) and electrical tests which measure peripheral nerve and muscle function.
Patients are followed up either to clarify the diagnosis or alternatively to manage longer term problems. Examples of conditions which require long term follow-up are epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
The process of diagnosis is becoming ever more sophisticated with improved imaging and other types of tests including genetic testing.
Neurologists treat conditions such as: