The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It is made up of two major divisions:
- Central nervous system. This consists of the brain and spinal cord.
- Peripheral nervous system. This consists of all other neural elements.
In addition to the brain and spinal cord, principal organs of the nervous system include the following:
- Sensory organs of taste
- Sensory organs of smell
- Sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body
What can damage the nervous system?
The nervous system is vulnerable to various disorders and can be damaged by the following:
- Structural defects
- Blood flow disruption
- Autoimmune disorders
- Inborn genetic or metabolic problems
- Toxic exposures or direct effects of drug exposures
What are the symptoms of nervous system disorders?
The following are the most common symptoms of nervous system disorders. However, each child may experience symptoms differently and different disorders will cause different symptoms to happen. Symptoms may include:
- Delays in developmental milestones
- Increase or lack of growth in head size
- Changes in activity, reflexes, or movements
- Lack of coordination
- Changes in level of consciousness or mood
- Muscle rigidity, tremors, or seizures
- Muscle wasting and slurred speech
- Older children may also report persistent or severe headaches, loss of feeling or tingling, or visual changes
The symptoms of a nervous system disorder may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your child's healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Healthcare providers who treat nervous system disorders
Healthcare providers who treat nervous system disorders may have to spend a lot of time working with your child before making a diagnosis of the specific condition. Many times, this involves performing numerous tests to eliminate other conditions, so that a proper diagnosis can be made.