A neurologist is a physician who has been trained to treat disorders of the nervous system, which include diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. These are conditions that a neurologist commonly treats:
- Dementias (Alzheimer's Disease)
- Epilepsy (seizures)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's Disease
- Pain Management
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A neurological exam helps doctors to diagnose peripheral neuropathy. A neurological examination may include the following:
- Your history: questions concerning your symptoms and condition.
- An evaluation of neurological function -a physical exam and a number of simple and painless tests. The purpose of these tests is to assess your neurological function, including your muscle strength, how your autonomic nerves are functioning, and your ability to feel different sensations.
- Diagnostic tests - Frequently the neurologist will recommend electrodiagnostic testing to measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. If necessary, the neurologist may also recommend a nerve biopsy, a spinal tap or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Electrodiagnostic tests - Electrodiagnostic tests measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. By measuring the electrical activity they are able to determine if there is nerve damage, the extent of the damage and potentially the cause of the damage. Frequently the neurologist will recommend common, noninvasive neurological evaluations such as electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Blood tests -
Blood tests are commonly employed to check for vitamin deficiencies, toxic elements and evidence of an abnormal immune response.
Depending on your individual situation, your doctor may request certain laboratory tests to identify potentially treatable causes for neuropathy. These include tests for:
- Vitamin B12 and folate levels
- Thyroid, liver and kidney functions
- Vasculitis evaluation
- Oral glucose tolerance test
- Antibodies to nerve components (e.g., anti-MAG antibody)
- Antibodies related to celiac disease
- Lyme disease
- Hepatitis C and B
- Other common tests