Brain Tumor Warning Signs
More Than Just a Headache
Fortunately brain tumors are fairly rare. Chances are that you do not have a brain tumor; however, many people, especially those with frequent headaches, may wonder if they have a brain tumor. Remember that you should see a physician if you believe you may have a brain tumor and any serious medical condition.
However there are a few brain tumor warning signs that occur in patients that are later diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is a good idea to at least be aware of some of these brain tumor warning signs if you or someone you know starts to experience one or more of them.
A Slow Progression
The first thing to realize is that the symptoms of a brain tumor come on gradually, not quickly. If you experience a very rapid onset of headache or problem with speech, it is infinitely more likely that you are experiencing some other problem rather than a brain tumor.
The reason that brain tumor warning signs appear gradually is that the symptoms are caused by an abnormal collection of cells slowly growing within the enclosed space of the skull. As a brain tumor grows, it takes up more and more space within the skull.
Since there is only so much space within the skull, the tumor causes an increase in pressure within the skull. Increased pressure within the skull leads to the sensation of a headache. Keep in mind that there are many reasons for a headache other than a brain tumor, but it is fairly common for people with a brain tumor to experience a headache.
Another common brain tumor warning sign is a seizure. A seizure is an episode of uncontrollable and erratic body movement caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. While people can have seizures without having a brain tumor (e.g. patients with epilepsy), a seizure may be the earliest brain tumor warning sign. In fact headache is usually only a symptom after the tumor has progressed in size while seizures may occur early in the growth of a brain tumor.
Unfortunately many other brain tumor warning signs are quite specific to the location of the tumor. As the tumor grows, the region of brain that the tumor presses on is usually affected.
For example, if a tumor is growing in the area of the brain that processes sound information, hearing loss in one ear may be the first brain tumor warning sign.
As the tumor grows, the person's balance may be affected or the affected hear may be plagued with perpetual ringing. The area of the brain that controls the release of many of the body's hormones is found at the base of the brain in a small area surrounded on several sides by bone.
Even a small tumor here could cause dramatic changes in hormonal balance and can disrupt vision, since the visual pathways come very near this area. Brain tumors at the back part of the brain may cause patient's to lose their balance and appear intoxicated all the time - even without alcohol.
The brain tumor warning signs of unsteadiness and a lack of coordination will not come on abruptly, but will develop more rapidly than brain tumor warning signs of other areas, since the brain region that controls this type of movement (the cerebellum) is contained within a smaller region of the skull.
Consult A Physician
Brain tumor warning signs can mimic many other things but the diagnosis of a brain tumor is as simple as a single radiographic test (like CT or MRI). Knowing the diagnosis is the first step toward treatment. If you think you have a problem, consult your internist or neurologist. If any of these symptoms begin suddenly, call 911 immediately.
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