Neurodegenerative diseases are a broad range of conditions that are characterized by a reduction in the ability to control your body’s activity. This can include your balance, locomotion, and ability to speak. However, it can also affect your ability to breathe or even your heart’s ability to pump blood.
The vast majority of these conditions are genetic, while others can be triggered by substance abuse or as a complication of another diagnosis. Other common causes of neurodegenerative disorders include exposure to toxins and chemicals, or even contracting certain viruses.
In the case of some neurodegenerative conditions, researchers still haven’t been able to determine a specific cause. These conditions are some of the most mysterious, and therefore hard to treat out there. One thing all neurodegenerative disorders have in common is that they can significantly impact your quality of life.
The primary symptom in most neurodegenerative disorders is an abnormality in the function of nerves or muscle systems around the body. Where this occurs, how severe it is, and how rapidly it progresses can all vary significantly depending on which condition you’re dealing with.
Many of these degenerative nerve disorders are life-threatening, or at the very least, quite severe. While the course of action and outlook will depend on your diagnosis, the vast majority of these disorders have no known cure. However, we’ve developed many treatments that promise to reduce pain and increase overall mobility.
Some of the most common neurodegenerative disorders include things such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. One thing that is significantly impeding the progress of neurodegeneration treatments is the broad range of specific disorders that each have their own set of challenges and symptoms.
While genetics likely has the most significant role to play on our risk of developing various neurodegenerative disorders, the actual connection for most of these conditions is mostly conjecture at this point. That said, one thing we know that increases your chances of developing a neurodegenerative disorder is increasing age.
According to rough estimates, around 6.5 million people in the US are living with some type of common neurodegenerative disorder. The most common by far is Alzheimer’s at nearly five million people, followed by Parkinson’s at one million, and MS at 400,000. These conditions have been on the rise, with reports suggesting as many as one in five Americans over the age of 65 will have a neurodegenerative disorder by the year 2030.
Neurodegenerative disorders are extremely serious and require intervention as soon as possible. If you’re worried that you or a loved one could be living with one of these debilitating conditions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with a medical professional. While many of these disorders can be terminal, early detection and treatment are the biggest factors in extending life and increasing the quality of lived years.