The Jakarta Post
Symptoms of a brain tumor may feel like everyday ailments, such as a headache or feeling moody. (Shutterstock/Freedomz)
A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain, with symptoms that can feel like everyday ailments such as a headache or feeling moody. Any growth inside the brain, enclosed by a very rigid skull, can cause the pressure to increase. This can lead to brain damage and is life-threatening.
People with a brain tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs, as compiled by Reader’s Digest.
As it can be difficult to tell if a headache is caused by a brain tumor, Dr. Mike Chen from the surgery department at California’s City of Hope National Medical Center said the best indicator is a new daily headache that doesn't seem to go away. “These headaches tend to get worse over time and are often present when you wake up in the morning, when intracranial pressure is high from lying in bed for [...] long periods of time.”
While there is no specific type of headache as a clear sign of a brain tumor, it is advised to look out for new, persistent headaches even after it’s treated with medicine.
Subtle loss of vision
A slight shift in vision may not be noticed until there are repeated occurrences. “This particular symptom of impaired peripheral vision is known as bitemporal hemianopsia,” said Dr. Christopher Carrubba from Med School Tutors. It is said that the tumor compresses the optic chiasm, or part of the visual pathway.
Weakness and lethargy
When there are tumors in the motor cortex of the brain, which controls muscle movement in the body, signals will be disrupted and loss of function will occur.
”If you have a brain tumor, you may not experience pain in your limbs, but your left or right leg or arm may not respond the way you’re used to — or at all. Weak legs may also mean that you have a vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr. Chen.
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Difficulty forming words
Two speech centers in the brain make it possible for us to understand and comprehend speech as well as activate the muscles that create sound, stated by Dr. Carruba. A tumor in the brain would mean both abilities are hindered, often in the form of slurred or stuttered speech.
Loss of hearing or ear ringing
As the ability to comprehend language is managed by the temporal lobe, it is also responsible for allowing you to hear sounds. “If you’re experiencing hearing loss from one side or a constant ringing sensation, known as tinnitus, you’ll want to make an appointment with your doctor, who can determine whether your symptoms are severe enough to see a neurologist,” says Dr. Carrubba.
Moody feelings and risky behavior
Compression of the frontal lobe, the part responsible for many of our personality traits, may trigger depression, anger or anxiety, said Dr. Sumeet Vadera, neurosurgeon at the University of California, Irvine.
Behaviors may change, showing manners that are out of the ordinary. Dr. Chen said a growing tumor could even alter personality and judgment.
The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, if affected by a tumor may secrete high amounts of hormones or prevent the normal gland from working, said Dr. Chen.
Loss of sexual function, infertility, change in menstrual cycle or problems becoming pregnant may occur.
Loss of balance
When walking starts to be difficult and there’s a tendency to lean to one side, it could be caused by a tumor in the cerebellum, the area of the brain in charge of balance and coordination. (wng)