Information for Patients
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.
There are more than 600 neurologic diseases. Major types include
- Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington's disease and muscular dystrophy
- Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida
- Degenerative diseases, where nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease
- Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke
- Injuries to the spinal cord and brain
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Cancer, such as brain tumors
- infections, such as meningitis
Viruses are very tiny germs. They are made of genetic material inside of a protein coating. Viruses cause familiar infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu and warts. They also cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, smallpox, and Ebola.
Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells and make you sick. Different viruses attack certain cells in your body such as your liver, respiratory system, or blood.
When you get a virus, you may not always get sick from it. Your immune system may be able to fight it off.
For most viral infections, treatments can only help with symptoms while you wait for your immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are antiviral medicines to treat some viral infections. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting many viral diseases.