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Sure Signs Your Nervous System is in Trouble

Neurologists explain what to know about your nervous system and signs it's not working properly. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Your nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord and a network of nerves and together they control how your body moves, functions and thinks. "Your nervous system is important because it is the way our organs communicate with other organs as well as the way our body is able to interpret the world," Dr. Wally Wazni, a Neurologist and Medical Director of the Stroke Center at Dignity Health St. Mary Hospital in Long Beach tells us. Liang Wang, MD Neurologist with Dignity Health Northridge adds, "Your nervous system really makes who you are as a human being: your ability to love, work, raise a family–not to mention understand this article." The nervous system is powerful, yet frail and when it becomes damaged, it can affect the brain's ability to communicate with muscles and organs. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Wang and Wazni about signs your nervous system is in trouble and symptoms to pay attention to. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What Should People Know About the Nervous System?

Radiologist analysing X-ray image with human spine in consulting room

Dr. Wang says, "It's amazing and lets us function, but unlike many other body parts, there is limited regeneration, so more often than not any damage you incur becomes permanent!"

Dr. Wazni states, "The nervous system is divided into two parts. We have a central nervous system which is composed of your brain and spinal cord which interprets and responds to information provided by our peripheral nervous system which is our nerves." 


What Causes the Nervous System to Dysregulate?

Doctor with glucometer and insulin pen device talking to male patient at medical office in hospital.

Dr. Wang tells us, "Not to make you worry, but so many things can cause injury, from chronic stress to over use of medications to a sedentary lifestyle to chronic medical diseases like diabetes."

Dr. Wazni says, "Many things like alcohol, drugs, electrolyte imbalances, toxins, brain tumors, trauma, stroke can cause damage to the nervous system."


Take Symptoms Seriously


Dr. Wang advises, "If you have any concerns about your nervous system, please see a neurologist! Your concern may be a serious diagnosis that needs more attention or just reassurance that it's no big deal, so definitely see a neurologist to get their evaluation and opinion!"



man hold his had and suffering from headache, pain, migraine

Dr. Wang says if you experience, "Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, speaking difficulty, facial droop or drooling, see a doctor. In a word, this is possibly a stroke! Of all the nervous system diseases, this is the most serious and immediate life-threatening! If you feel or hear someone having any of these sudden symptoms, don't wait, just call 911."


Nagging Headache that Won't Go Away

woman in a couch with headache and a hand on forehead

Dr. Wang tells us to be aware of "Persistent headaches, especially if you don't have a history of headaches. It could be something as serious as a brain tumor (although exceedingly rare) or something more benign such as chronic stress or just poor quality sleep, but persistent headaches that don't improve with over the counter medications definitely need to be evaluated."


Weakness or Lack of Energy that Prevents You From Living Your Normal Life

Sick young woman lying in the bed covered with blanket

Dr. Wang explains, "If you can't function like you did before due to weakness or low energy, this is definitely a sign that something is amiss in your body and you should definitely visit a doctor. Certain disorders like endocrine or autoimmune disease can also indirectly affect the nervous system as a result." According to Dr. Wazni, "Acute onset weakness could be a sign of a stroke, so call 911 to get to the nearest emergency room." 


Loss of Consciousness

Woman hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness with motion

Dr. Wang states, "If you have blackout spells or lose consciousness from an unknown cause, this is definitely a sign of a potential nervous system disorder. The primary issue may be heart related, but your brain is designed to keep you awake at all times until you fall asleep, so any loss of consciousness needs a doctor's attention!"


Memory Loss

Sacred mature woman.

Dr. Wang says, "We wouldn't be humans if we couldn't remember things, so any significant decline in memory should be evaluated by a neurologist! We all think of Alzheimer's disease when it comes to memory loss, but there are many other disorders that can cause memory problems, and unlike Alzheimer's, may be treatable and reverse the decline in memory."


Hand or Feet Numbness

Swollen feet

Dr. Wazni tells us, "This could be a sign of peripheral neuropathy which most commonly could be related to diabetes or high blood sugar." 


Off Balance

Woman assisting an injured man on the running track at garden

Dr. Wazni says, "This could be a sign of vestibulitis or inflammation of the 8th cranial nerve."


Irritability and Fatigue

Woman falling asleep on sofa in front TV. Tired exhausted lonely sleepy lady in pajamas sleeping in front of television sitting on cozy couch in living room, closing eyes while watching movie at night

According to Dr. Wazni, "This could be a sign of stress. Meditation helps regulate blood pressure levels, heart rate, breathing rate, and other nervous system functions." 


Difficulty Concentrating

Pensioner reading message on mobile phone

Dr. Wazni says "If you're having a difficult time concentrating, this could be a sign of mental fatigue, try taking a power nap less than 30 min to recharge." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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