The Neurologist’s Guide to Diagnosing Brain Disorders
Neurologists diagnose brain disorders by taking a patient’s medical history, conducting a physical examination and performing testing. They examine patients for signs of brain injury, such as concussion, or for seizures or epilepsy.
Symptoms of brain disorders vary online neurologist depending on the type and severity of damage. For example, a severe stroke is more likely to cause noticeable symptoms than a slow-growing tumor.
Diagnosing brain disorders is a complex process. Your healthcare provider will look at your symptoms, history and medical records to make a diagnosis.
They might also do a physical examination to check your balance, vision and hearing. They may also get images of your brain with CT, MRI or PET scans. These can help your healthcare provider find bleeding, infections or other problems.
A physical examination, sometimes called a neurological exam, is a test that examines one or more aspects of your nervous system. It helps confirm or rule out disorders affecting your brain, nerves and spinal cord.
The exam often starts with an interview about your symptoms and how they affect you. It may also include a physical exam, which tests movement of your face, eyes and tongue.
Several tests can be performed to help your neurologist make an accurate diagnosis of brain disorders. These include imaging scans and laboratory testing.
One test is called a spinal tap (lumbar puncture). It involves inserting a needle into the spinal canal to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, a clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. It is analyzed for color, blood cell counts, protein, glucose and other substances.
There are a variety of imaging tests used to look at the brain and nervous system. They can help diagnose conditions such as stroke, tumors and vascular dementia.
These include CT scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET scans and spinal taps.
Neuropsychological tests, also called cognitive testing, are used to help doctors diagnose brain disorders. These tests are not painful or invasive and do not require you to be hooked up to tubes.
They measure thinking and behavior skills such as memory, language, processing speed and executive function. They also assess mood and personality. Tests are usually conducted with a trained technician.
Behavioral tests are pre-employment assessments that evaluate candidates’ temperaments, characteristics and habits to determine whether they fit a job position and workplace. They can help you hire employees who align with your mission, values and culture.
Behavioral assessments are similar to personality tests, but they are more active and better at showing how someone reacts to certain situations. This allows them to be more accurate predictors of job success.
When a doctor thinks someone might have a brain or spinal cord tumor, he will order tests to help find out the type and stage of the tumor.
Other types of blood tests are often ordered to evaluate the levels of therapeutic drugs used to treat brain disorders or to identify medical conditions adversely affecting the neurological system. They can also be used to diagnose dementia and rule out other conditions that may cause the symptoms.
Genetic testing is used to detect changes in genes that may affect your health. These tests can identify specific diseases or conditions and help doctors make better treatment decisions.
For example, genetic tests can help diagnose epilepsy and guide the choice of anti-seizure medications. They can also help families understand their risk of having a child with a certain condition, and may inform reproductive choices.
Blood Glucose Tests
A blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar in your blood. Glucose is a main source of energy for your body.
During the test, a doctor uses a lancet to prick your fingertip or another site (such as your forearm). Some people feel mild pain or bruising at the site where the needle was placed, but this usually goes away quickly.