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頭痛はひとつのサイン。危険な脳腫瘍の様々な兆候について

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脳腫瘍の頭痛の場合には、偏頭痛や緊張型頭痛など他のタイプの頭痛にはない特有の症状を伴うことが特徴です。脳腫瘍の場合、早朝に頭痛が起きたり、痙攣発作が生じるなどといった特徴があります。また子供であっても、先天的な脳腫瘍を持っている場合もあります。脳腫瘍は生命に関わるものですので、早めに専門の医師による診断・治療を受けることが必要不可欠となります。

本稿では脳腫瘍に伴う頭痛の特徴などについてまとめてあります。

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脳腫瘍と頭痛

頭痛の男

私たちの体に異変があると体はその異変を知らせるために何らかのサインを示してくれます。脳腫瘍とは、頭蓋内(ずがいない・頭蓋骨の内側のこと)にできる腫瘍のことをさします。脳腫瘍には良性のものと悪性のものとがありますが、悪性のものの場合、脳の組織を破壊し、他の部分へ転移して生命に関わります。

このような脳腫瘍の場合には、必ずではありませんが頭痛症状を伴うことがあります。
頭痛症状が脳腫瘍に気づくたいへん大きなサインとなることがあります。

脳腫瘍の頭痛の特徴

頭痛には様々なタイプ・種類のものがあります。例えば、日本人に多く少なくとも生命に対しての心配がない頭痛のタイプとしては、偏頭痛と緊張型頭痛があります。偏頭痛は頭の側面がズキンズキンと痛む頭痛です。日本人の8パーセントが偏頭痛持ちと言われます。

また、緊張型頭痛は、頭が重いという痛みを覚える頭痛です。主要な原因は同じ姿勢を続けることなどで筋肉のこわばりが生じることにあります。ドライバーやデスクワークの方に多く見られる傾向があります。

これら偏頭痛や緊張型頭痛は、比較的長時間頭痛が続き、辛さは覚えるものの、生命等に対する危険はほぼありません(ただし、非常にごくまれに偏頭痛が脳梗塞につながるケースもあるようです)。

これに対して、脳腫瘍で頭痛を感じた際には生命に関わります。脳腫瘍の頭痛の特徴は、
早朝に頭痛が起きることが多いということが特徴です。脳腫瘍の方の約3割程度の方は、早朝に頭痛を訴えられると言われます。そのため、脳腫瘍による頭痛を「早朝頭痛」と呼ぶことがあります。ただ、脳腫瘍の場合にも必ずしも早朝に頭痛が起きるわけではなく、頭痛の時間だけで脳腫瘍か否かを判断することはできません。

脳腫瘍による頭痛の痛み・症状の特徴としては、ものがぼんやり見えることや二重に見えることなど偏頭痛や緊張型頭痛では見られない、不思議な感覚を伴う痛みが生じます。

さらに、脳腫瘍が進むと脳圧が亢進してきます。そのため、頭痛の症状がどんどんひどくなってくること、嘔吐を伴う場合には、嘔吐をしたあとはしばらくは楽になるなどの症状が出てきます。

このような頭痛症状がおありになる場合には、脳腫瘍の可能性を考えて早急に脳神経外科などで診断・治療を受けられることが必要です。

なお、脳腫瘍は成人の方だけではなく子供でも脳腫瘍を患うことがあります。子供の脳腫瘍は、おもに先天的な原因に基づきます。子供でもけいれん等を伴いいつまでも続く頭痛の場合には、可能性は極めて低いものの、脳腫瘍の可能性があり得ることは一応ご承知置かれたほうが良いということができます。

ただ、脳腫瘍を患う可能性は1万人に1人程度と言われますので、頭痛を感じたとして脳腫瘍の心配をすぐにする必要はなく、あまり神経質になりすぎないことも重要です。

頭痛以外の脳腫瘍の諸症状

脳腫瘍の場合、頭痛を感じる方は、実はあまり多くはありません。脳腫瘍の患者さんのうち、頭痛を訴えられるのは3分の1程度と言われます。そのため、頭痛以外の症状から脳腫瘍の可能性を見抜くことも重要となります。

脳腫瘍の場合には、腫瘍の存在により頭痛以外にも様々な症状を伴います。例えば、けいれん、まひ、手足の異常な感覚、めまい、視野障害、記憶力や判断力の障害などが生じます。また、性格や認知能力が変わってきてしまうことがあります。例えば、話の辻褄が合わないこと、いらだちや怒りっぽくなること、話した内容をすぐに忘れてしまうなど症状が出ることもあります。

脳腫瘍は生命に関わりますので、頭痛以外にもこれらの諸症状が見られる場合には周囲の方なども勧めて、脳神経外科の診断を受けることがとても大切となります。

まとめ:脳腫瘍は頭痛その他の症状から早期発見を

以上、本文で述べました脳腫瘍や頭痛に関してのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 脳腫瘍による頭痛は早朝に発生することが多いのが特徴です。頭痛に伴い、ものが二重に見えたりぼやけるなどの通常の頭痛ではない症状を伴います
  • 脳腫瘍の場合には頭痛を伴わない場合があります。その場合、頭痛以外の症状としては、けいれんやまひ、めまいなどが生じたり、怒りっぽくなったり忘れっぽさが生じるなどの症状が発生します
  • 脳腫瘍の可能性がある場合には脳神経外科での診断・治療が必要不可欠となります

脳腫瘍は生命に関わりますので、頭痛その他の症状があらわれた場合には、速やかな診察・治療を受けることが何より大切です。

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