By Dr Sreehari N. R
Brain tumours possess a unique nature as they rarely spread to other parts of the body. Instead, they can generate secondary tumours within the brain itself. This distinct characteristic gives rise to specific symptoms that vary in intensity and duration based on the tumour’s size and location. In this article, we delve into the common signs associated with brain tumours, aiming to enhance understanding, awareness, and the importance of seeking timely medical assistance.
Headaches and Pressure
Persistent headaches and a feeling of pressure within the head are hallmark symptoms of brain tumours. These headaches can range from occasional episodes to constant discomfort, hindering daily activities. If you experience persistent or severe headaches that are unresponsive to usual remedies, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.
Nausea and Vomiting
Brain tumours often trigger episodes of nausea and vomiting. These symptoms occur due to the tumour’s impact on the brain’s control centres, causing disruptions in normal bodily functions. If you frequently experience unexplained bouts of nausea and vomiting, especially when combined with other symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation.
Brain tumours can affect vision in various ways. Blurry vision, difficulty focusing, or double vision are commonly reported symptoms. Additionally, some individuals may gradually lose their peripheral vision, making it challenging to see objects located on the sides. If you notice any persistent changes in your vision, it is essential to consult an eye care specialist or a healthcare professional.
Balance Issues and Dizziness
Balance problems and feelings of dizziness are prevalent symptoms associated with brain tumours. These manifestations can impact mobility, increase the risk of falls, and hinder independence in daily activities. If you experience unexplained balance issues or recurrent dizziness, particularly when accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention.
Brain tumours can cause a range of hearing problems, from mild impairments to significant hearing loss. Such difficulties arise when the tumour affects the auditory pathways. If you notice changes in your hearing, such as reduced sensitivity or clarity, it is important to consult an audiologist or a healthcare professional.
Paralysis is a potential consequence of brain tumours, with its manifestation depending on the tumour’s location within the brain. This paralysis may affect specific body parts, such as the hands, legs, or face, or it can lead to complete loss of movement. If you experience sudden or progressive paralysis or weakness, it is critical to seek immediate medical attention.
Seizures and Altered Consciousness
Brain tumours can trigger seizures, which involve convulsions, muscle spasms, or uncontrolled movements. Seizures may also cause temporary disorientation and confusion due to altered consciousness. If you or someone you know experiences a seizure, it is crucial to seek emergency medical care.
Cognitive and Sleep Disturbances
Brain tumours can give rise to cognitive difficulties, including memory problems, reduced concentration, and challenges with problem-solving. Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or excessive sleepiness, can also occur. If you experience persistent cognitive issues or significant disruptions in sleep patterns, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing brain tumours typically involves a combination of medical evaluations and imaging tests. Neurological examinations, along with imaging techniques like CT scans or MRIs, help visualise the brain and detect any abnormalities. A biopsy of the tumour tissue may be performed to identify its type. The treatment approach depends on various factors, such as the tumour’s characteristics and location, and may involve surgical intervention, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these modalities.
The Importance of Early Detection
Early detection of brain tumour symptoms is crucial for timely intervention and optimal outcomes. If you experience any persistent or concerning symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better disease control and improve the overall quality of life for individuals affected by brain tumours.
By familiarising ourselves with the signs and symptoms of brain tumours, we can play an active role in recognizing potential concerns and seeking appropriate medical attention. Paying attention to persistent headaches, nausea, vision changes, balance issues, paralysis, hearing difficulties, seizures, cognitive changes, and sleep disturbances can make a significant difference in timely diagnosis and treatment. Remember, early action is key to effectively addressing brain tumours and improving outcomes.
(The author is a clinical associate professor of neurosurgery at Division of Skull Base, Vascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, Amrita Hospital, Kochi)
[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.]
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