Although there are a host of neurological diseases and disorders, even ones that are relatively minor can negatively affect an individual’s quality of life as well as the lives of friends and love ones. Because every human body and brain is unique, signs and symptoms of the neurological condition can manifest quite differently from person to person. And of course, the location and severity of a specific condition can dictate the symptoms.

However, there are some common signs and symptoms of a neurological condition, some slight and some very serious: loss of consciousness; seizures; dizziness; a weakness or paralysis affecting one or more parts of the body; difficulty with breathing or swallowing; and drastic changes in sensation and sensitivity. All of these signs should be taken very seriously, and in most cases they require immediate emergency care.

A diagnosis of a neurological condition typically begins with an exam that determines how well the eyes, ears and muscles are functioning, as well as whether the patient is experiencing problems with balance, coordination and skin sensations. Assessing mental acuity and the state of one’s memory is also important, and a physician will likely order imaging testing—x-rays, CT scans and MRIs—to aid with the diagnosis and perform blood panel testing.