6 Brain Diseases Everyone Should Be Aware Of
The human brain is one of the most important organs of the human body or perhaps ‘the’ most important organ. It is the control center in our body that controls and regulates memory, speech, movement and thoughts. It also often controls the function of a few other organs in the body which means that a lot rides on how efficient and healthy our brain is.
Because the brain is a very sensitive area of the body and is susceptible to infections, inflammations and several kinds of diseases or disorders, anything serious happening to it can turn out to be quite detrimental. Inflammation in the brain can lead to numerous brain diseases and illnesses, of which some are quite rare and some very common. These can occur in different forms like trauma, infections, strokes, neurodegenerative conditions, etc.
Mentioned ahead are 6 brain diseases everyone should be aware of in terms of their commonness and severity:
- Brain tumor or cancer
A tumor is basically a tissue mass that is made of a collection of abnormal cells. Brain tumors can occur in different forms and kinds, some of which are fatal and some more on the milder side. They can occur at any age and any point over the course of an individual’s life.
Any brain tumor that begins in the brain is referred to as a primary brain tumor which can either be malignant or benign. Malignant are those that contain cancer cells while benign are those that do not contain cancer cells and they are also not very aggressive.
Some of the most common symptoms of brain tumor include seizures, memory issues, changes in mood and personality, headaches, numbness in the body, tingling sensation in the arms or legs, changes in vision, balance problems, etc.
While the exact cause of brain tumors is not quite known, there are several risk factors like age, chemical exposure, and familial history, etc. that can increase the probability of developing tumors.
- Parkinson’s disease
Another common brain disease, Parkinson’s is characterized by a degeneration of nerves in the central area of the brain that causes problems in coordination and movement. It primarily affects those brain cells that control your movement. The initial symptoms of Parkinson’s are usually tremors in the hand, leg or arm, unstable posture, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, and slowness of movement. In extreme cases, it may even make a person freeze and unable to move.
- Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia which is a decline in cognitive function due to malfunctioning of nerve cells in the brain. In Alzheimer’s, nerves in certain brain areas deteriorate and degenerate, resulting in a constant loss of memory, changes in behavior and personality, and a decline in mental function.
Because it is a progressive disease, it worsens over time and age is one of the biggest risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Common symptoms include memory loss and confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, impulsive behavior, delusions, inability to learn new things, etc. While there is no proper cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatment options available that can temporarily slow down it’s symptoms from worsening.
- Huntington’s disease
This is an inherited disease of the brain that causes a progressive degeneration of brain cells. The disease doesn’t have a fixed onset time but most people who have Huntington’s start experiencing its signs and symptoms by their 30s or 40s. Dementia and an inability to control movement are some of its core symptoms. However, it can also pave way for numerous other brain disorders and illnesses like movement disorders which include muscle problems, abnormal eye movements, impaired posture, etc. It can also cause cognitive disorders which may include slowness in processing thoughts, difficulty in learning new information ,etc. and lastly, psychiatric disorders that typically involve insomnia, social withdrawal, fatigue, loss of energy, etc.
While there are medications available to stop the symptoms of Huntington’s from deteriorating, a proper solution hasn’t been found yet.
- Pick’s Disease
Also known as frontotemporal dementia, Pick’s disease involves shrinking of the temporal and frontal anterior lobes of the brain. Its symptoms typically include problems with language and changes in personality. Other symptoms include deterioration of social skills, memory loss, and intellectual impairment.
This disease is often inherited and one of the major risk factors is familial history. Just like with other brain illnesses, no long term cure or treatment has been found or developed for Pick’s. However, antidepressants have shown some improvement in reducing its symptoms.
- Multiple Sclerosis
While this disease can start in different parts of the body, it majorly affects the brain and spinal cord. It is an auto-immune disease where it potentially disables the brain and the spinal cord. This results in extreme nerve deterioration where the nerves may even become permanently damaged.
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis depend on the nerves that are affected, however, early symptoms include blurred vision, weakness, numbness and tingling. Other signs may include thinking problems, partial or complete loss of vision, slurred speech, urinary problems, etc.
The treatment for this disease includes the use of medications and modifying therapy, however, no proper cure has been found out yet.
While these are just 6 of the numerous brain disorders and diseases that exist, it is very important to have a clear know-how of all or most common ones that can occur in majority of people. Many of them have similar signs and symptoms too, therefore, one should be well-informed about these things.