What is a neurological condition?

Neurological conditions result from damage to the brain, spinal column or nerves, caused by illness or injury. Many of the precise causes of neurological conditions are not yet known. Neurological conditions affect young and old, rich and poor, men and women and people from all cultures and ethnicities.

Some neurological conditions are life-long and people can experience onset at any time in their lives. Others, such as cerebral palsy, are present from birth. Some conditions, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, commonly appear in early childhood, some, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease affect mainly older people.

There are also conditions which have a sudden onset due to injury or illness, such as a head injury or stroke, or cancers of the brain and spine. Some neurodegenerative conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, affect people mainly in adulthood and will cause deterioration over time, affecting a person’s quality of life and their ability to live independently.

Some neurological conditions are life threatening, most of them severely affect people’s quality of life and many cause life-long disability. Caring for someone with a debilitating illness often means that carers have to give up their own employment, in addition to the person with the condition being unable to continue to be economically active. This will have a devastating impact on the family’s economic situation.

Neurological conditions are very poorly understood by the general public. Levels of awareness are low even about relatively common conditions, such as epilepsy. There are also a large number of rare conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and ataxia-telangiectasia, which are largely unheard of by most health and social care professionals.

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