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The nervous system and associated disorders

22 February 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 4


Disorders of the nervous system, encompassing the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, have emerged as a significant public health issue, with profound implications for individuals worldwide. These conditions result in significant morbidity and mortality. Many patients with neurological disorders often have comorbidities, further complicating their clinical presentation. Therefore, nurses must possess a comprehensive understanding of the nervous system and its associated disorders to formulate detailed care plans that address the unique needs of each patient. This article aims to explore the underlying pathophysiology of some of the most prevalent neurological disorders and how this informs effective patient assessment and diagnostic strategies. A further article will build on this to consider patient assessment and formulating a care plan in more detail.

The nervous system is an incredibly complex system of cells, tissues and organs that plays a vital role in the control and regulation of all bodily functions. When the nervous system is disrupted, it can lead to a variety of disorders which can impact on a person's quality of life.

Nervous system disorders, also known as neurological disorders, refer to a broad range of conditions that can affect various parts of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The incidence of these disorders can vary greatly depending on the specific condition and geographical location. According to the World Health Organization ((WHO), 2023a), neurological disorders are a major public health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. Moreover, neurological disorders are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide (Feigin et al, 2019). In the UK, neurological disorders are a common and significant health problem. Approximately one in six people living in England have one or more neurological disorders (Neurological Alliance, 2019), and neurological disorders were two of the top five leading causes of death in England and Wales (Office for National Statistics 2023) (Table 1).

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