What is idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a disorder associated with high pressure in the brain. It reasons the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor. It is also occasionally called pseudotumor cerebri or benign intracranial hypertension.
The unsolidified that environs the spinal cord and brain is called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF. If too much fluid is produced or not enough is reabsorbed, CSF can build up. This can cause symptoms like those of a brain tumor.
IIH is classified into these categories:
- Symptoms occur suddenly, often due to a head injury or stroke.
- Symptoms develop over time: They may be due to an underlying health problem.
- Idiopathic: The cause is unknown.
What are the symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
Symptoms can include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Temporary blindness
- Double vision
- Blind spots
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision
If you notice any changes in your vision or other symptoms, talk to your eye doctor.
Causes of idiopathic intracranial hypertension
In the idiopathic or primary type (IIH), obesity is careful a factor in young women. However, only a small fraction of obese people develop IIH, so other unknown causes have yet to be determined.
The many potential causes of subordinate intracranial hypertension have been noted above. Note that in secondary IH, different IIH, obesity, sex, age, and race are NOT risked factors, but may be present.
The mechanism by which IH is produced is not known, but several possibilities have been suggested. Most research supports the theory that there is resistance or obstruction to the outflow of CSF through normal pathways in the brain, leading to a relative overproduction of CSF.
Diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension
- MRI with magnetic resonance venography
- Lumbar puncture
If clinical findings suggest idiopathic intracranial hypertension, clinicians should check visual fields and optic fundus, even in patients without visual symptoms.
The diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension is clinically suspected and established by brain imaging (preferably MRI with magnetic resonance venography) that has normal consequences (except for tapering of the transverse venous sinus), followed, if not contraindicated, by lumbar puncture with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).) tests that indicate high opening pressure and normal CSF composition.
The use of certain medications and certain disorders can produce a clinical picture resembling idiopathic intracranial hypertension and should be excluded (see Conditions Associated with Papilledema and Similar to Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension).
Treatment of Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)
For most people, IIH symptoms improve with treatment. Treatments include:
Weightloss. For people who are overweight or obese and have IIH, weight loss is often the first treatment. Losing about 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight can help decrease your symptoms; for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, that means losing about 10 to 20 pounds. Talk to your doctor about safe and sustainable ways to lose weight.
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Medicine. Your physician may endorse a medicine called acetazolamide (Diamox) in addition to weight loss. This medicine helps your body make less CSF.
Surgery. If other treatments don’t work, your physician might suggest surgery to help relieve the pressure. In bypass surgery, doctors make a small hole and add a tinny tube, called a bypass, to help the extra fluid drain around your brain into the rest of your body. There is also an eye surgery in which doctors make a small hole in the covering that surrounds the optic nerve.