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The Symptoms and Causes of Glioma

By Dr. Amitabh Goel in Neurosurgery

Nov 09 , 2020 | 3 min read

Comprising almost 80% of all the malignant brain tumors, High-Grade Gliomas begin in glial cells in the brain. They can also occur in the spinal cord. Glial cells play a significant part in the central nervous system. They are the gluey supportive cells that provide proper scaffolding to the nerve cells.

Depending on various factors like cell type, location and grades, gliomas are classified into several types. The three main types of glioma are as follows:

  • Astrocytoma: It is the most common type of glioma which develops from cells known as astrocytes. These cells support the nutrition of neurons by regulating blood flow to them.
  • Oligodendroglioma: Developing from oligodendrocytes, this type of glioma is quite rare. Oligodendrocytes are the cells that ensure the proper working of the nerve signals by forming the myelin sheath.

Ependymoma: This type of glioma begins from ependymal cells which line the cerebrospinal fluid pathways.

At times, a glioma can have the characteristics of one or two types of such tumour. Another thing that determines the complexity of the tumour is the grade. A low-grade glioma tends to exhibit benign tendency and develops at a slow pace. On the other hand, a high-grade glioma is malignant and grows faster. The treatment for gliomas that we offer at Max Healthcare is decided by renowned doctors on the basis of CT/MRI/MRSpectroscopy findings, for optimal outcomes in patients with these tumours.

Signs and Symptoms

Dr. Amitabh Goel, Director – Neurosurgery, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, mentions below some of the common symptoms that usually occur due to Glioma:

  • Seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Decline in brain function
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision and double vision
  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty in maintaining balance
  • Changes in personality often marked by irritation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Speech difficulties

In cases where the person experiences continuance in the symptoms mentioned above, the best step is to consult a medical professional at the earliest. Glioma can be a deadly health condition that needs timely treatment for a successful result.

Causes of Glioma

As far as the causes of glioma are concerned, it is still unknown. However, there are some of the factors that are associated with the occurrence of glioma. Some of them include:

Hereditary Genetic Disorders: Some genetic disorders such as neurofibromatosis (type 1 and type 2) and tuberous sclerosis complex are known to increase the risk of development of glioma.

Electromagnetic Radiation: Over the years, a correlation has also been found between glioma and strong electromagnetic radiation. This, however, cannot be applied in all the cases.

Age: The chances of getting such brain tumour increases as per the age. Glioma usually occurs in adults between the ages of 60 to 80 years. However, it has also been noticed that certain gliomas such as pilocytic astrocytomas are more common in young adults and children.

Family History: If a person has a family history that dealt with glioma, the chances of them getting a glioma may increase.

Apart from the factors mentioned above, some other things have also been related to the occurrence of glioma. For instance, it is seen that men are at higher risk of developing glioma as compared to women. To get more information about the treatment options, it is essential to consult a competent neurosurgeon.

It is critical to stay in regular follow up for people with this condition as a comprehensive treatment plan which may include radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy can offer prolonged survival rates. It becomes convenient as the type of chemotherapy that is offered in this condition is oral ( capsules) only and does not require injections etc.

People seeking an appointment with a Neurosurgeon can visit our state-of-the-art hospital to find out if at all they have this tumor and if diagnosed can get optimal treatment. The treatment plan is decided on the basis of a Tumor Board discussion where the Neurosurgeon, Neurologist, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Oncologist are present.

We at Max Healthcare, have an excellent team of highly qualified and experienced doctors who not only offer state of the art brain tumour treatment but also guide patients to Health in a Multidisciplinary manner.