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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Could Your Child Have a Brain Cyst?

No one wants to see their child hurt or in pain. We want to protect our children, and we will go to any length to see that they are. We will do anything to keep them healthy and happy.

Many things that children develop with their health, are noticeable - the common cold, the flu, a boo-boo from play. But there are plenty of things that a child can develop that are not as easily seen or known what it is. A brain cyst can be one of those medical conditions that although you see outward ramifications of a problem, you don't see the cause. You don't see the culprit. It is these types of medical problems that can be the most tricky to get diagnosed.

Brain cysts can sit on the brain for years - for a lifetime, and never get noticed. Why? Because many do not create symptoms. They don't create problems. And for those where that is the case, you are lucky. You are fortunate. But for those who have a brain cyst where symptoms do arise, and those symptoms are the result of the brain cyst, it can be a horrific and frightening experience. For children, I can imagine it is even more frightening because they do not know how to communicate their symptoms. They do not know how to discern what is supposed to be normal and what is not. Especially very young children. So it is up to us, as parents, to monitor our children and their health. It is up to us to pick-up on changes in their behavior and their physical wellbeing, and to be able to discern what is normal for them, and what is not.

Brain cysts can cause such a wide variety of symptoms and a lot has to do with the type of brain cyst it is and where it has planted itself and decided to grow. There are multiple types of brain cysts. They can grow on any part of the brain, and at any level - meaning, any layer, or covering of the brain; for instance, an Arachnoid Cyst grows on the Arachnoid covering (the third covering, or layer of coverings) of the brain.

There are several things that can affect the symptoms produced by a brain cyst. Depending on where the cyst is growing, this will play a role in the types of symptoms your child may develop. However; as a general rule, there are some general symptoms and tell-tell signs that you would watch out for that could indicate a problem with the brain; such as a brain cyst.

If you notice your child starts to have changes in, or difficulties with these issues, you should have your child checked by a neurologist. It can be a couple of issues or many, that he develops. But if anything seems to come on out of no where, and especially if it persists, keep a close eye on it and seek medical attention.
  • Excessive crying - For a baby or toddler, there is no consoling the crying. 
  • Difficulties with memory - Especially short-term memory can be effected.
  • Balance issues - He tends to sway, trip, or fall often.
  • Visual disturbances - Irregularities in pupils. If old enough, he may complain of vision problems-changes that seem to come out of nowhere.
  • Head pain - Complains of head pain, or if too young to complain, holds his head, or pulls at her hair or ears.
  • Nausea and vomiting - Spontaneous nausea and vomitting and for what seems to be no reason - no stomach bug or fever associated. Comes on for no reason, or out of nowhere.
  • Sleeps a lot. Always tired or drowsy. No energy.
  • Numbness - He complains of numbness in extremities. Especially often.
  • Dizziness - He seems to get dizzy for no reason and often.
  • Personality - Noticeable changes in personality, and what seems to be sudden changes.
  • Memory - This can be more noticeable in older children. Suddenly they have difficulty remembering things from their short-term memory; like, what they learned in school that day.
  • Breathing - Noticeable changes in breathing; either while asleep or awake; such as, sleep apnea. If he's old enough, he may complain of not being able to breath "right," or "good."
Anything that seems to be out of the norm, or out of the ordinary for your child, should be noted. One of the best ways to keep track of symptoms, or regular, irregularities, is to keep a symptom diary. If you notice things about your infant, or your older child is complaining of things regularly, start making note of it - keep a journal and make sure your doctor is aware by giving him a copy.

The more organized, and the more diligent you are with keeping records, the easier it will be to find the root of the problem.

Having your child followed by a neurologist if you notice these issues, is a good idea. If your doctor doesn't suggest it, you may ask if you can get an MRI of your child's brain. A Cat Scan does not show the detail like an MRI does, so be sure to request an MRI.

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