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80-year-old male Caucasian male brought to the clinic by his wife concerned about his “memory problems”. Per the wife, she has noticed his memory declining but has never interfered with his daily activities until now

Discussion: Diagnosing Neurological Disorders

As an advanced practice nurse, you will likely observe patients who experience neurological disorders. Challenging to the diagnosis of neurological disorders is the realization that many manifestations of disease may not be overt physically.

For this Discussion, consider the following three case studies of patients presenting with neurological disorders.

Case Study 1

80-year-old male Caucasian male brought to the clinic by his wife concerned about his “memory problems”. Per the wife, she has noticed his memory declining but has never interfered with his daily activities until now. He is unable to remember his appointments and heavily relies on written notes for reminder. Just last week, he got lost driving and was not found by his family until 8 hours later. He is unable to use his cell phone or recall his home address or phone number. He has become a “hermit” per his wife. He has withdrawn from participating with church activities and has become less attentive.

PMH: HTN, controlled
Prostate cancer 20 years ago
Dyslipidemia
SH: no alcohol or tobacco use; needs assistance with medications
PE: VS stable, physical exam unremarkable

Case Study 2

A 30-year-old Asian female presents to the clinic with headaches. History of headaches since her teen years. Headaches have become more debilitating recently. Describes the pain as sharp, worsens with light and accompanied by nausea and at times vomiting. Rates the pain as 7/10. Typically takes 2 tabs of OTC Motrin with ‘some help’. “Sleeping it off in a darkened room’ helps alleviate the headache. VS WNL, physical exam unremarkable.

Case Study 3

A 50-year-old African American male presents with complaints of dizziness left arm weakness and fatigue. PMH: poorly controlled diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia
PE: Upon exam, you noted a very mild dysarthria, he understands and follows commands very well. Mild weakness on the left side of the face is noted, and left sided homonymous hemianopsia but no ptosis or nystagmus or uvula deviation.

To Prepare:

  • You will either select or be assigned one of the three case studies provided.
  • Reflect on the provided patient information including history and physical exams.
  • Think about a differential diagnosis. Consider the role the patient history and physical exam played in your diagnosis.
  • Reflect on potential treatment options based on your diagnosis.

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