With age comes an expected reduction in strength, coordination, and mental focus. But you may not be able to recognize what symptoms are simply signs of growing older and which are warnings about conditions affecting the nervous system. While you should consult your primary care physician or provider with any health-care concerns first, some symptoms may be signs it’s time for you to see a neurologist. Neurologists diagnose and treat conditions affecting the nervous system, especially as it affects the muscular system, the brain, and human behavior.
Migraines and Severe Headaches
An occasional headache is usually no cause for alarm, but if you have persistent ones that interfere with the quality of your life, it’s time to see your doctor and perhaps even a neurologist. Migraines are fairly common and involve pain in the head or face, often accompanied by feelings of nausea, sensitivity to lights and sounds, blurry vision, flashing lights, or other symptoms. A migraine may not be life-threatening, but it can be incredibly unpleasant and last for days. While there’s no cure for migraines, there are treatments. Either way, it’s best to consult a neurologist about persistent or repeated migraines.
It’s easy to lose your keys or something small like that, but if memory loss reaches the point where it involves getting lost on your way home, putting things where they shouldn’t be, or an inability to identify people, it could be time to see your doctor and a neurologist. Sometimes, as with dementia, the doctor may prescribe medication to prevent symptoms and stave off further moments of amnesia.
Numbness and Clumsiness
Every now and then, some part of your body might feel inexplicably numb, and then the feeling goes away. It’s natural. But if the numbness persists and even begins to spread, it might be a sign of a more significant problem. A neurologist can track down the source of the numbness, recommend a treatment, and determine if it’s a sign of a larger problem. In the same way, we’re all prone to clumsiness now and then, but if clumsiness seems frequent and out of nowhere, or if you also notice trembling, a loss of strength, stiffness, or an inability to control a body part, see your doctor right away.
Blackouts and Seizures
Here are two more signs it’s time for you to see a neurologist that aren’t so subtle. Blackouts can manifest themselves as moments or even minutes of unconsciousness or unresponsiveness. Some blackouts can result from trauma, severe shocks, or excessive drinking; in this case, it might be a one-time (but still undesirable) thing. However, if blackouts repeat themselves, see your doctor immediately. Likewise, sudden seizures in people with no previous signs of epilepsy could be a symptom of a more serious neurological condition. Whatever the case, if your symptoms alarm you, seek medical help right away!