ZocdocAnswersHow can I find out if something is wrong with my brain?

Question

How can I find out if something is wrong with my brain?

I've been reading about strokes and other brain problems lately and I want to make sure my brain is okay. How can I have my brain scanned? Can my doctor order tests on my brain if nothing is currently wrong with me that he can see?

Answer

The best thing you can do to ensure good brain health, and in fact health of your whole body, is have regular checkups with your primary care doctor. It sounds like your concern about your brain is not provoked by any specific symptoms but rather by a desire to make sure everything is ok. This is exactly the point of the annual physical exam! At the annual physical your primary care doctor will do a complete examination and ask a whole bunch of questions to make sure that everything is ok with your heart, lungs, brain, and other organs. If anything concerning turns up on questioning or on the exam, your doctor will order whatever additional tests may be needed to make sure that everything is ok. In the absence of symptoms, it is not standard practice to scan the brain with a CT scan or with an MRI scan. These tests are very expensive, and there is no need to perform them if there are no concerning symptoms for a brain problem. What is more, a CT scan in particular involves radiation exposure which should be avoided unless completely necessary. Set up a visit with your primary care doctor to have your annual checkup and discuss your questions and concerns.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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