For most skull base disorders, early identification and treatment are essential in order to ensure a favorable prognosis. Identifying the early warning signs of skull base tumors and other conditions can be challenging, however. Many of these disorders have no symptoms at all during the early stages of their development and are only discovered when they have already done damage to vital structures in the skull base region.
Worse yet, the symptoms of many of these conditions can mimic those found in a wide range of other illnesses. This can make it far more difficult for physicians to identify the specific cause of these symptoms.
Signs to watch out for
Headaches and nausea are early warning signs of many skull base disorders, including meningioma, pituitary adenoma, acoustic neuroma, and chordoma. Some patients experience other symptoms that may include:
- Blurred vision
- Changes in the sense of smell or taste
- Hearing loss and balance issues
- Breathing difficulties
- Unexplained memory loss
Some skull base disorders produce specific symptoms that can allow for easier identification by physicians and earlier treatment for patients.
Pituitary tumors symptoms
The pituitary gland produces a number of hormones necessary for continued health; however, pituitary tumors can cause fluctuations in hormone levels that can have serious effects on growth and physical function. The symptoms of pituitary gland tumors are dependent on a number of medical factors, and may include:
- Cushing’s disease
- Dowager’s hump
- Thinning of the epidermis
- Low or high blood pressure
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sexual dysfunction and infertility
Many of these symptoms can be reduced or reversed with proper treatment and hormone management therapies.
The symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia are unlikely to be mistaken for any other ailment. This debilitating condition causes severe pain in the facial area. Patients typically describe the pain as akin to an electric shock that occurs in response to even the lightest touch or movement. Endoscopic surgery can sometimes reduce or eliminate this pain and allow patients with trigeminal neuralgia to return to their normal activities.
Early detection and treatment of skull base disorders can significantly improve the prognosis for patients affected by these dangerous conditions and can minimize damage to blood vessels and other structures in this critical area of the brain. By identifying and reporting symptoms that may be linked to skull base tumors, patients can take an active role in managing and protecting their own health more effectively.
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