Bringing your child to a doctor can be a worrying experience. It may even be…
What Can a Neurologist Diagnose?
Neurologists diagnose and treat conditions of the nervous system. That means disorders, diseases, and conditions that impact the brain or the nervous system.
Most people think of brain injuries when they think of neurologists. For example, they know that someone sees a neurologist after experiencing a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. While these acute and sudden events are neurological, they are far from the only things that neurologists diagnose or treat.
What Do Neurologists Treat?
Neurologists diagnose and treat a variety of conditions including
- Developmental Delays
- Learning Disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Behavioral Disorders
- Brain Tumors
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Tourette Syndrome
- Sleep Problems
- Autoimmune Conditions
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
What Do Neurologists Diagnose?
When you have a medical issue, sometimes your medical team has to work like detectives to find the root cause of the issue. You may present with neurological issues, but they may be caused by another type of disorder. Likewise, you may have another disorder that presents like a neurological issue. Finding the root cause is important, but so is treating the symptoms of the disease, disorder, or condition.
Neurologists are primarily going to diagnose conditions of the brain and nervous system. Sometimes, they may be confirming a referring physician’s diagnosis. Other times, neurologists may suspect another diagnosis and refer you to a different specialist. For example, endocrine conditions like diabetes and thyroid disorders can cause some symptoms that appear neurological. In an effort to make a diagnosis, a neurologist may uncover test results that strongly suggest a different type of disease.
Therefore, it becomes difficult to narrow down what a neurologist diagnoses. Because of how thorough their workups are, they are often the first medical professional to suspect other diseases or disorders, in addition to being able to diagnose and treat neurological issues.
How Do Neurologists Make Their Diagnosis?
That depends on your presenting symptoms. It may involve more tests than you realize. For example, if you bring a child to a pediatric neurologist for recurrent headaches, you might assume it is migraines. However, headaches can be a symptom of other serious diseases. So, the neurologist may order tests to rule out those conditions before diagnosing migraines.
Some tests neurologists use to aid them in diagnosing are:
- Blood Tests
- Physical Function Tests
- Mental Function Tests
- Imaging (CT scans, MRIs, etc.)
- Medical Histories
- Patient Reports
Through this information, the neurologist can get to an accurate diagnosis, or, if it is not a neurological issue, refer you to the appropriate specialist for diagnosis and treatment.