Being diagnosed with a brain tumor might be just about everyone's worst nightmare. But the truth is, this is a reality for approximately 78,000 Americans who are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year. There's nothing you can do to completely rule out the chance that you'll be one of them, but thankfully, you can be on the lookout for symptoms so that if you do develop a brain tumor, you're diagnosed and can begin treatment earlier. Here's a look at some subtle signs that should prompt you to talk to your doctor about the possibility of a brain tumor.
Unexplained weakness and lethargy
It's normal to feel tired every once in awhile, but if you've been constantly plagued by increasingly severe feelings of tiredness, there's a chance it is due to a brain tumor. Try getting more sleep, eating a balanced diet, and cutting back your caffeine intake. If you don't feel significantly better within a week or two, it's time to see your doctor.
This symptom can easily go undetected since you, yourself may not notice it. But others around you may begin noticing that your speech sounds slurred or that you're stuttering more than usual. You might also sometimes feel like you're having to think extra hard to come up with the right words. Depending on the location and size of your brain tumor, these speech difficulties may come and go -- or they may have a more constant presence.
Difficulties with balance
Have you noticed that you're frequently bumping into things, dropping things, or feeling like you're about to tip to the side? Maybe you can't stand on one leg like you used to, or perhaps activities you used to enjoy -- like riding a bike -- have become more challenging. Problems with balance are sometimes caused by an inner ear infection coming on, so if your ear starts pounding within the next few days, you're probably in the clear (though you will want to see your doctor for antibiotics).
Changes in behavior
This is another symptom that you, yourself may not notice but that your friends may report. Tumors in certain areas of the brain tend to result in changes in behavior and personality. Perhaps you used to be highly opposed to taking risks, but now you're more than happy to engage in risky activities. Maybe you've become very quiet when you used to be very talkative. If your friends insist you have changed, it's in your best interest to take their word for it and schedule an appointment with a neurologist like http://www.billingsclinic.com.