As per an assessment conducted by Deccan chronicle, it is estimated that around 30 million people in India experience the ill effects of different types of neurological disorders such as migraines, strokes, degenerative diseases, epilepsy, brain tumours, meningitis and many more; the list is long as there are over 600 diseases in this category! Lack of awareness regarding the complexities of these neurological issues, shortage of neurologists catering to these illnesses and the uneven ratio of doctor-patient i.e. about 1:8 (set of 50,000 of the general population), has often led to look more myopically towards preventive care. This warrants the need to understand the gap between the two. Hence, asking the right questions to your neurologist might mitigate the factor of “less knowledge about a condition” and help you make better decisions about opting correct preventative care and future cure/treatment options.

The questions you ask your specialist will likely depend upon on certain specific symptoms or conditions so let’s look at a few common ones that one has in mind. 

Q1: What are the different treatment options? Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Depending upon a doctor’s field of specialization, their analysis and advice for commonly occurring symptoms and its causes might differ altogether. Hence, seeking a second opinion is a reasonable option to consider particularly in the case of a recommended surgery or misdiagnosis or in case of prescribed medications not working for you. There can be more than one treatment options available for chronic diseases but there is no “one size fits all” preventive cure.

To put the above into perspective, I read about Michelle Farris, who, since a significant period of time had been experiencing headaches or persistent headache like symptoms that was initially diagnosed as migraines. When her pain began to occur with every cough and sneeze, her neurologist put her on a prescription that caused blurry vision. With no relief and new symptoms, she was reluctant to continue with her current treatment plan and sought a second opinion. The new expert neurologist after careful observation and study of her medical history/records diagnosed an entirely new symptom of spinal fluid leak, further, which he able to narrow down the associated causes, effects and accordingly was able to prescribe her with the correct medications. Miss Farris is holding up much better now! Now, this was not just a headache or migraine and not opting for a second opinion with a specialist could have turned a simple headache symptom into a life-threatening situation. So, sometimes a second opinion or even a third could be a lifesaver!

Q2: How will this condition or treatment affect my personal and social relationships?

Based on the kind of chronic neurological diseases, a cure or treatment is defined. Every patient is embedded in a social network of interpersonal connections that influence certain health outcomes. So diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis etc. require long-term care management and social acceptance than sticking to only medicinal care options. On the other hand, a headache, brain injury or even dementia can lead to disruptions in day to day routines, cause an immense amount of personal unrest and can slowly impact your social relationships. The need to isolate due to a neurological disorder or be perturbed about the frequency of the pain should be addressed correctly to minimize the impact on social relationships. Neurologists routinely need to engage with a patient’s family and friends due to the nature of the illness and its social sequelae and help in balancing the perceived health inequalities, notions about preventive care and social discrimination.

I came across a 63-year-old man who was experiencing the palmomental reflex condition that is an involuntary contraction of the mental muscle of the chin, which could be caused due to cerebral damage.  He had been experiencing a sudden change in personality. Previously affectionate and meticulous, he had begun to progressively isolate and become self-fixated. On a regular day, he would step out for a stroll and pass by a bistro counter, scrutinizing each and every cake on display. He would often find it difficult to speak to describe what he wanted and had even begun showing signs of dementia as he would forget why he had stepped out or where has was or what did he have to do with the cakes! His wife had a tough time accepting these changes in behaviour, mental abilities, or coordination and their relationship were not the same anymore. At this backdrop, the neurological issue can end up damaging patient’s life as well as the life of others associated with them so its important to also understand the right kind of care, coping mechanisms and emotional relationship management in such scenarios. 

Q3: What side effects can occur with this new medication? What is the likelihood of success of the treatment?

When taking medication for treating a condition or disorder, you may experience certain side effects, depending upon your symptoms or reactions to the prescriptions. In certain cases, patients may have unknowingly created a dependency on the current medication prescribed even if they may not actually make a difference. Sometimes, the side effects do outweigh the benefits of treatment. Asking your neurologist about possible side effects allows you to address your concerns and set the record straight about potential harms.

For example for treating cerebrovascular disease, your doctor may recommend a low oestrogen dose combined oral contraception.  This may have a small increased risk of ischaemic stroke, particularly in women with other risk factors; notably smoking, hypertension, and probably a history of migraine, and a modestly elevated risk of haemorrhagic stroke mainly in women older than 35 years of age.

Bottom-line, it varies from case to case so its best to leave it to specialists!

Q4: Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my condition?

We still want to harp on “Prevention is way better than treatment or cure” and you can make small changes to improve your own health. Good lifestyle choices such as healthy eating, good sleep, brain and muscle exercise can reduce your likelihood of showing an illness or disorder by almost 70% (apart from the genetic or hereditary conditions). Adjusting your lifestyle is often more important than taking the right medication as this also helps you recover quicker from an existing illness. For instance, the best way to deal with dementia after stroke is to avoid junk foods, avoid drinking and smoking, controlling hypertension and more; thereby reducing the risk of having a stroke. Regular check-ups, maintaining normal cholesterol and blood sugar level can similarly diminish stroke risk and the conceivable cognitive decline ahead.

Individuals who experience the ill effects of any sort of neurological problems ought to be cautious about their eating habits and can consider various home remedies to treat some neurological diseases without any side effect. 

Q5: What happens next – do I come back and see you?

I came across an individual, Marcos, who had a stroke a couple of years ago that paralysed an entire side of his body. His movements were restricted yet he was determined to find a solution for his problem. It had become difficult to go for regular follow-ups and he would often end up waiting for hours outside his doctor’s clinic just to consult. To avoid this, he opted for online medical consultation. His new neurologist could communicate the medical assessment on proposed treatment through secure video call and the process could not get any easier! 

Like Marcos, over 60% of patients are now opting for this mode of the consultation so you can come back online and see your doctor anytime from the comfort of your home for non-emergent neurological care.

Conclusion

Despite how long you have suffered, it is important to know that assistance is available. With professional medical treatment, it is possible to manage your neurological issues; the key is to pick treatment facility/online options that offer experienced specialists for planning your treatment. If you have noticed signs and indications of neurological issues in yourself or someone else, please don’t hesitate to speak to our neurologist on +91 8010139903 or drop us a mail at info@icardin.com.