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Warning Signs Your Brain Sends You

Listen before it's too late.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

When it comes to brain health, keeping track of what's normal and what's not is important. "Getting a diagnosis of a brain tumor can be very scary for any person. There are numerous types of tumors including tumors that arise within the brain and tumors that metastasize to, or spread from elsewhere in the body.  They can be benign or malignant," says neurosurgeon Sumeer Sathi, MD. "In dealing with brain tumors, early diagnosis may offer the best prognosis." Here are five warning signs of brain health issues you should never ignore. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Headaches

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While headaches are a common occurrence for many people, sometimes they can be a sign of something more serious. "Many patients with brain tumors do experience headaches, ranging from mild to severe and unremitting," says Lindsay Lipinski, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology and a neurosurgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. "I estimate 50 to 60% of patients with brain tumors at Roswell Park experience headaches at the time of their diagnosis. They occur most often in conjunction with another neurologic problem, like a seizure or speech problem, that led to the diagnosis."

2

Memory Issues

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Memory issues could be a sign of dementia, experts warn. "One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own."

3

Drastic Personality Changes

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Personality change could be a result of brain injury. "Although personality changes may be noticeable during inpatient brain injury rehabilitation, they often become more pronounced after a patient returns home, spends more time with family and tries to resume normal activities," says Alphonsa Thomas, D.O., director of Outpatient Clinical Services at Johnson Rehabilitation Institute at Ocean University Medical Center. "Any type of brain injury, regardless of severity, can cause personality changes — and some patients may not experience any personality changes at all."

4

Vision Issues

Vision issues are a common sign of concussion. "It's a short-lived functional brain injury typically caused by a bump or blow to the head," says concussion specialist, Richard Figler, MD. "A concussion sets off a chemical process in the brain as it's trying to heal itself. During that process, and depending on what part of the brain was impacted, it can affect different functions like balance, memory, focus or even cause visual disturbances."

5

Sleep Issues

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Studies show insomnia could be linked to plasticity in the motor cortex of the brain. "Insomnia is not a nighttime disorder," says Rachel E. Salas, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It's a 24-hour brain condition, like a light switch that is always on. Our research adds information about differences in the brain associated with it." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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