Is Your Brain Healthy?

How often do you have a headache?

Headache is the most common reason for admission to hospitals in the society and negatively affects the daily life of people. Although headaches are so common, there is no serious underlying disease in most of them. In particular, the two most common types, tension type and migraine type, are head pains. Tension type headaches (also known as stress type headaches) are due to fatigue, stress and intense psychological changes in daily life and there is no underlying organic pathology. In this type of pain, the pain lasts throughout the day, its intensity is mild and does not vary, it creates a feeling of being squeezed around the head with a band. Migraine-type pain is one-sided, throbbing pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting and blurred vision in that side eye. There is extreme sensitivity to light and sound. These two most common types can be treated with medication.

As a neurosurgeon, I would like to talk about headaches that can have serious organic pathology. Especially if severe nausea and vomiting accompanying headache, speech disorder, unilateral weakness or numbness in arm and leg, especially if there is unilateral weakness or numbness, the hospital should definitely be applied to the hospital as soon as possible, because underlying tumor or bleeding should be investigated. As another example, it is also an urgent situation for us to have a sudden and very severe pain in the front of the head when you have no complaints. First of all, if it is due to hypertension, blood pressure should be lowered slowly with medical treatment.

However, if the patient is conscious and he describes this pain as “a pain that I have never experienced before in my life and suddenly hitting the neck”, a very urgent brain imaging should be done. Bleeding between the cerebral membranes (subarachnoid hemorrhage) that may occur due to cerebral vascular aneurysm (bubble) rupture should be investigated. Another important issue is the headache in children. Especially young children do not easily say ‘I have a headache’. In such a case, neurosurgery should be consulted and further examinations should be performed.

Does dizziness affect your daily life?

People with vertigo experience a lot of trouble in their daily life. If your dizziness has become permanent, further examinations must be performed. Although we often experience dizziness accompanied by psychological problems, other causes should not be omitted. Dizziness may be of central or peripheral origin. Brain, cerebellum and brainstem lesions (tumor, infection, vascular occlusion, MS etc.) that we call ‘central’ should be investigated. “Positional vertigo” that develops due to the displacement of the ear crystals in the inner ear, which we call “peripheral”, should be evaluated. When the underlying cause is detected, treatment is provided for it.

What findings in our body may be of brain origin?

In brain-borne diseases, some organs in the body are affected and give us warning. For example, visual impairment, narrowing of the visual field, one of the pupils being larger, drooping of the eyelid, sliding on one side of the face, especially unilateral numbness or weakness in the arm and leg, speech disorder are the most common situations.

I constantly forget things. Should I be worried?

Forgetfulness occurs at young and advanced ages. In adolescents, especially due to stress and psychological reasons, vitamin deficiencies due to malnutrition, irregular sleep, monotonous life and especially the use of intensive technological devices in recent years increase the complaints of forgetfulness. These are people who are aware that they have forgotten. In forgetfulness that occurs at an advanced age, the patient is not aware of this and may come to a situation where he cannot take care of himself. In such cases, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease should be investigated. In order to protect our brain from these situations, it is necessary to read books, eat a regular and balanced diet, sleep regularly, exercise, get out of monotonous life, and socialize more.

At what ages do we encounter more brain diseases?

In childhood, more cerebellum tumors are encountered. These can be benign and malignant. We encounter congenital anomalies (hydrocephalus, spina bifida) in newborns. Benign and malignant tumors and degenerative diseases such as MS are more common in young and middle ages. In advanced ages, more malignant tumors, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hydrocephalus, vascular occlusion and hypertensive bleeding are encountered.

How long should I sleep for my brain health?

A quality and adequate sleep strengthens the immune system and memory, especially brain health. Recommended daily sleep time for adults should be 7-8 hours. However, it is important to sleep between 23:00 and 07:00 in the morning, in accordance with the biological clock of the body.

How should I eat for my brain health?

First of all, an average of 2.5 liters of water per day should be consumed for brain health. As for all systems, regular and adequate nutrition is important for brain health. The fuel the brain consumes for energy is glucose. To provide this fuel, whole grains containing complex carbohydrates should be consumed and simple sugars should be avoided. Meat and meat products (except processed ones) should be consumed for the collagen, various amino acids and vitamin B12 it contains. In season, fruits and vegetables are important for the amino acids, minerals and vitamins needed by the brain.

Omega 3 should definitely be on our table for memory strengthening and brain development. Eggs, milk and dairy products, nuts, legumes also contain important vitamins and proteins in the brain as in all organs. Dark chocolate consumed in moderation in moderation also supports cognitive memory.

Which sports and activities are good for my brain?

Your brain health will not be good unless your body health is good. It is seen that people who do regular sports and exercise throughout their lives have a more active brain, although they have a higher quality and longer life. Lighter exercises can be preferred instead of heavy exercises. For example, walking for a regular hour daily, swimming regularly and being active in our daily life both cope with stress and keep the body fit positively affects brain health.

How does the increase in summer temperatures affect my brain?

With the arrival of summer, we are throwing ourselves into the street. It is necessary to be very careful at noon and afternoon when the sun’s rays are very steep and the weather is extremely hot. Headache and weakness may develop due to water and electrolyte loss due to excessive sweating. Sudden increases in blood pressure in elderly patients, patients with high blood pressure and overweight patients can cause brain hemorrhage. For this reason, you should not go out and drink plenty of water during hours of intense humidity and excessive heat.

Does COVID-19 cause brain disease?

This year, we are struggling with the Covid-19 epidemic that has deeply affected us all. In this pandemic period, examinations are performed with the suspicion of Covid-19 in hospital admissions with common complaints such as fever and cough. Studies have shown that the virus that causes Covid-19 also affects the central nervous system. The most common causes of neurological complaints are headache, dizziness, nausea-vomiting, smell and taste disturbances.

In later stages, cases progressing to stroke and coma have been reported. Covid-19 should be kept in mind in all kinds of complaints during the pandemic period. Patients with neurological diseases and using drugs should be under the control of a doctor and should not stop their medication by themselves.