Cerebrovascular accidents (also known as a stroke) result when blood circulation to brain neurons is impaired and brain tissue dies. The result may be hemiplegia, sensory deficits, or speech impairment. The most common cause of CVA is a blood clot that blocks a cerebral artery.
General symptoms of CVA include:
- sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in the face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of the body
- sudden vision changes
- difficulty speaking
- sudden confusion or difficulty understanding simple statements
- sudden difficulties with balance or walking
- a sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches
CVA Symptoms can vary depending on whether the stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke), where the stroke occurs in the brain, and how bad it is.
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder in which beta-amyloid peptide deposits and neurofibrillary tangles appear. Its victims exhibit memory loss (particularly for recent events) shortened attention span, disorientation, and eventual language loss. Over a period of several years, formerly good-natured people may become irritable, moody, and confused. Hallucinations may ultimately occur. Alzheimer's disease also causes changes in thinking, behavior, and personality. Close family members and friends may first notice these symptoms, although the person may also realize that something is wrong.
Mild symptoms of Alzheimer's include:
- person may avoid new and unfamiliar situations
- person may have delayed reactions and slowed learning ability
- person may begin speaking more slowly than in the past
- person may start using poor judgment and making inappropriate decisions
- person may have mood swings and become depressed, irritable, or restless
Moderate symptoms of Alzheimer's include:
- has problems recognizing close friends and family
- becomes more restless, especially in late afternoon and at night, this is called sundowning
- has problems reading, writing, and dealing with numbers
- has trouble dressing
- cannot work simple appliances such as a microwave
Severe symptoms pf Alzheimer's includes:
- can no longer remember how to bathe, eat, dress, or go to the bathroom independently
- no longer knows when to chew and swallow
- has trouble with balance or walking and may fall frequently
- becomes more confused in the evening (sundowning) and has trouble sleeping
- cannot communicate using words
- loses bowel or bladder control (incontinence)
Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease are neurodegenerative disorders of the basal nuclei. Both involve abnormalities of the neurotransmitter dopamine (too little or too much secreted) and are characterized by abnormal movements.
Symptoms of Parkinson's disease differ from person to person. They also change as the disease progresses. Symptoms that one person gets in the early stages of the disease, another person may not get until later - or not at all.
Symptoms typically begin appearing between the ages of 50 and 60. They develop slowly and often go unnoticed by family, friends, and even the person who has them.
The disease causes motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Motor symptoms are those that have to do with how you move. The most common one is tremor.
Other common symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:
- stiff muscles (rigidity) and aching muscles
- slow, limited movement
- weakness of face and throat muscles
- difficulty with walking and balance
- freezing, a sudden, brief inability to move, it most often affects walking
Huntington's disease is a genetic, progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the gradual development of involuntary muscle movements affecting the hands, feet, face, and trunk and progressive deterioration of cognitive processes and memory (dementia). Neurologic movement abnormalities may include uncontrolled, irregular, rapid, jerky movements (chorea) and athetosis, a condition characterized by relatively slow, writhing involuntary movements. Dementia is typically associated with progressive disorientation and confusion, personality disintegration, impairment of memory control, restlessness, agitation, and other symptoms and findings. In individuals with the disorder, disease duration may range from approximately 10 years up to 25 years or more. Life-threatening complications may result from pneumonia or other infections, injuries related to falls, or other associated developments.
Some common early symptoms of Huntington's disease include:
- slight changes in coordination, affecting balance or making you more clumsy
- fidgety movements that you can't control
- slowing or stiffness
- trouble thinking through problems
- depression or irritability
Some common middle stage symptoms of Huntington's disease include: With time, symptoms begin to interfere more with your day-to-day life. For example, you might start to drop things or to fall. Or you may have trouble speaking or swallowing. Staying organized may be difficult and emotional changes may put pressure on relationships.
Some common late stage symptoms of Huntington's disease include: In this stage, people with Huntington's must depend on others for their care. Walking and speaking are not possible, Most likely you will still be aware of loved ones around you. Fidgety movements may become severe, or may subside.
In children or teens, Huntington's may progress more quickly and cause symptoms like:
- stiff or awkward walking
- increased clumsiness
- changes in speech
- trouble learning new information, or loss of previously learned skills