Do you know that a headache could be a sign of something more serious? And if you have been treating a headache that would not go away, you may need to see a neurologist.
It is very common to develop severe headaches if you are overworked, have high blood pressure, etc. just like Favour who came home one evening and complained of a headache.
Everyone thought she was just stressed doing too much at work and her side businesses, so she was given paracetamol and other painkillers prescribed at the pharmacy but the headache persisted.
A month later, she came home and her right eye had shifted to the side, that was when panic set in. CT scans were done, several doctors were consulted, and the source of the headache turned out to be a Glioblastoma, a form of cancer in her brain.
She risked being brain dead or death itself if it was operated on, so palliative care was the only option on the table. Favor lost the ability to hear, talk, walk and see, she died 8 months later, she was only 34 years old, a top accountant in Nigeria at the peak of her career, her life cut short. If only a professional was consulted on time, who knows, it might have turned out differently.
WHO IS A NEUROLOGIST?
A neurologist is a doctor who treats disorders affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Neurologists can diagnose several conditions like;
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Seizures, etc.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A NEUROLOGIST?
Even advertisements for drugs push the need for a doctor to be consulted after three days if there is no change in condition. The following symptoms are red flags that require you to get to a hospital:
- Chronic headaches: when the headache is persistent and severe even after taking pain-killers for about 3day, you should consult a doctor who will run some tests and recommend a neurologist If need be.
- Vertigo: when it seems like you’re spinning or having difficulty keeping your balance.
- Memory loss: it’s normal to forget things once in a while, but when it happens way too often, you should get checked out at the hospital, it could be a sign of dementia.
- Numbness or Tingling: you know when you’ve sat on the toilet for so long and you lose the feeling in your legs, that’s what numbness feels like. If this feeling occurs suddenly or on only one part of the body, it’s a major red flag, it could be a sign of a stroke.
- Slurring of words: talking normally one minute and the next minute you’re mumbling or mispronouncing words you used to say with ease, it is also a sign of a stroke.
- Movement difficulties; difficulty walking, unintentional jerking is a sign of a problem.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A NEUROLOGICAL EXAM?
- A smell test: the doctor will hold different test tubes with varying smells to see if you can identify and differentiate smells.
- An eye exam: one of the many signs of a neurological disorder is blurred eyesight, so the eyes are checked just like they would at the optician’s.
- Mobility and coordination test: your doctor may ask you to take a few steps to check your balance and also inspect your joints.
- Reflex test: a reflex hammer would be used on your knee and different parts of your body to see how fast you react, don’t worry, it’s just a slight tap.
- Memory and mind test; your doctor would ask questions that have to do with your memory retention like your date of birth, your job and you might solve some basic math problems.
Most people are scared of going to the hospital, but the popular saying “ a stitch in time saves nine” comes into play. The earlier you visit a doctor, the sooner you’d be diagnosed and put on medication that could help.
Going to the hospital for a consult is not a death sentence, but avoiding it is. You can speak with an international neurologist from the comfort of your home by booking a consultation. CLICK HERE