The nervous system provides a communication network through which the brain sends messages to the muscles and organs of the body and through which the body sends information back to the brain.
An elaborate network of sensory nerves enables humans to see, hear, taste and feel. Nerves supply muscles and allow movement. Nerves serve internal organs and glands. Disorders in the nervous system can cause problems in the proper functioning of all areas it controls.
Infectious diseases such as herpes can affect the nervous system. Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, which remains in an inactive form in nerve bundles near the spine after a patient has recovered from chickenpox. According to the Mayo Clinic, this virus is dormant for decades and then reactivates, usually by the time a person is in their 60s. The virus moves along the nerve pathway, causing a rash, neuralgia, or nerve pain.
Damage to the body, for example from traffic accidents, falls, sports injuries or acts of violence, can sometimes have an impact on the nervous system. A common complication of sciatica is trauma, which occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spine to the back of the legs, is damaged. The nerve itself can be injured, or bone fragments from a fracture can put pressure on the nerve.
When the body mistakenly recognizes its own tissue as foreign and potentially dangerous, it directs an immune system attack against that tissue. This is called an autoimmune disease. Several autoimmune diseases are known to affect the nervous system, including Guillain-Barré syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
A number of hereditary diseases can lead to malfunctions in the nervous system. Spinal muscular atrophy is an example of a genetic condition that affects the neurons that control muscle movement. Huntington’s disease is another nervous system disorder that’s passed from parents to offspring through a faulty gene that leads to the destruction of brain cells. The rare genetic disorder Tay-Sachs disease also destroys nerve cells and builds up fatty tissue in the brain.
side effects of medication
Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder whose main symptoms include tremors, stiffness of the trunk and limbs, slow movements and problems with balance. This nervous system disorder results from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.
In most cases, the cause of the brain cell loss associated with Parkinson’s disease is known. In some cases, however, the side effects of certain medications lead to secondary Parkinson’s disease. Drugs used to treat hallucinations, such as haloperidol, and the anti-nausea drug metoclopramide are known to cause secondary Parkinson’s disease.