What Is a Neurologist and Why Should I See One?

WHAT IS A NEUROLOGIST AND WHY SHOULD I SEE ONE?

A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions in the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. To become a neurologist, the physician must have at least a college degree, four years of medical school, internship and neurology residency, and board certification. Many neurologists also complete a fellowship training, specializing in a specific field, such as movement disorders.

There are more than 600 diseases of the nervous system. Some of the conditions that neurologists treat include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), brain and spinal cord injury, brain tumor, epilepsy, headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), peripheral neuropathy, tremors, seizures, and stroke. Your primary care doctor might refer you to a neurologist if any of these conditions are suspected.

In preparation for the initial consultation with your neurologist, make sure to write down the symptoms you are experiencing, the medications you are taking, your allergies, any previous illnesses you have had, and family history of disease. Complete any new patient paperwork, and provide your neurologist with prior medical records, such as physician notes, pertinent imaging, and neurology tests and labs.

In most cases, you will have to be prepared to travel to your neurologist’s office and wait to be seen. However, patients of Be Mobile Neurology do not have to worry about this stress or inconvenience. Be Mobile Neurology is the only mobile neurology practice in Tampa Bay. Neurologist Dr. Deborah Boland, D.O., who is one of only six movement disorder specialists in Tampa Bay, provides her patients with access to state-of-the-art specialized neurologic care in the comfort of their place of residence.

During your initial exam, Dr. Boland will review your medical history, talk to you about your symptoms and current lifestyle, perform an extensive medication review, and conduct a comprehensive neurologic exam. This exam focuses on your brain and nerves, evaluating your mental status, vision, speech, muscle strength, sensation, coordination, reflexes, balance, and walking.

In addition, she may also order screening tests, such as:

  • Brain scans like an MRI or CAT scan
  • Blood tests including genetic testing
  • Lumbar punctures for cerebral spinal fluid analysis
  • Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (NCS/EMG)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Botulinum toxin injections to control the muscle stiffness and spasticity

At the end of the initial consultation, Dr. Boland will provide you with an assessment, and together you will determine a plan of action. It’s likely you will receive a lot of important information at this first consultation, so it’s a good idea to take notes and to ask for clarification if you need it. Also, include a trusted friend, family member, or your caregiver in the appointment, so they are familiar with your plan of care and to help you capture all of the details. It is important that you fully understand your diagnosis and how you will be treated for it.

Because the majority of neurologic diseases do not yet have a cure, Dr. Boland focuses on individualized treatment plans to help you achieve your highest quality of life. If you are interested in learning more about how Be Mobile Neurology can help you or to schedule an appointment, call (813) 981-4403 or visit us online.