What is a Neurological Condition? 

Neurological conditions are the result of damage to the nervous system, often caused by illness or injury. Problems of the nervous system usually affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, neuro-muscular junction and muscles in the body.

They affect all ages and all ethnicities, and people may experience the onset of a neurological condition at any time in their lives. Some conditions are incurable, life-long and may even be life-threatening.

Neurological conditions are the most common cause of serious disability. Illness and injury to the head or a stroke can be sudden onset but neurodegenerative conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone disease, affect people mainly in adolescence. Conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy typically appear in early childhood, whilst Alzheimers and Parkinsons affect the older age group. This can cause deterioriation over time, affecting a person's quality of life and their ability to live independantly. This in turn is more likely to affect the lives of the carers who are looking after the person with the debilitating illness, and can also have a devastating impact on the family's situation.  There can also be effects on the social and medical services brought in to assist the sufferer or carer.

Neurological conditions are barely understood by the general public. Levels of awareness are low even about some of the more common conditions such as Epilepsy. There are hundreds of neurological conditions, some so rare such as Guillain Barre Syndrome they are not widely recognised, even by health professionals. Some are also 'unseen' in that their symptoms fluctuate from day to day or even hour to hour, so they are not immediately obvious such as Myasthenia Gravis. As a result of this ignorance, people with neurological conditions may face stigma, being labelled 'a drunk' or unco-operative, leading to unhelpful attitudes or police arrest. Misdiagnosis has even resulted in unnecessary treatment and/or operations!

SWWNA aims to work together with the Health and Social Sectors in South West Wales to 'cut through the barriers and red tape' to improve the awareness of all neurological conditions, enabling the patient and their carers to receive the support and services that they not only require but deserve, increasing equality of access and improved quality of life.