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What You Should Know About Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension?

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, also known as IIH for short, is when high pressure around the brain causes strong headaches and vision changes. The word Idiopathic in the name means that the cause is not known, while the word intracranial means that it happens in the scull.

Where too much cerebrospinal fluid, which is there is a fluid build-up around the brain and spinal cord, a person can experience idiopathic intracranial hypertension. This will put a lot of pressure on your brain and the nerve in the back of your eyes. If you notice some changes in the vision, do not hesitate to talk to your eye doctor!

What You Should Know About Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Frequent headaches can disrupt your daily lifestyle

Your doctor should be able to figure out if the symptoms are related to IIH or if they are a different condition. To find out more, you can check out the idiopathic intracranial hypertension treatment in Sydney or you can continue reading.

Symptoms of IIH:

  • Headaches – they are often painful and recurring. They might cause additional symptoms such as light sensitivity or nausea. People who have IIH are 98% likely to suffer from these headaches.
  • Temporary blindness – this can include partial or complete vision loss in one or both eyes. Up to 70% of people who have IIH also experience temporary vision loss.
  • Hearing the pulse – known also as pulsatile tinnitus. You can experience this in one or both ears, and around 60% o people who have idiopathic intracranial hypertension also have this symptom.
  • Photopsia – eye floaters or flushes, is a symptom that occurs in 54% of patients of idiopathic intracranial hypertension cases.
  • Neck and shoulder pain

As soon as you notice any changes in your vision, it is crucial that you visit your doctor. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is most common seen in women between the ages of 20 and 50. Although the condition is rare, there are some things that can make the condition more likely for some.

For example, being overweight or obese can make idiopathic intracranial hypertension a lot more likely. You can also be at a higher risk if your BMI is greater than 30, or if you suddenly gain weight. However, experts still do not know what causes idiopathic intracranial hypertension. There are other types of intracranial hypertension that have known cause, such as:

  • Acute intracranial hypertensions – which will happen suddenly and is usually caused because of a stroke or an accident.
  • Chronic intracranial hypertensions – will develop over time, often because of health problems such as brain tumor or blood clot.

How is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension will overlap with symptoms of many other conditions, which makes it difficult to diagnose. A lot of diagnostic tools re used to help rule out all other disorders. If no condition can be determined, then your doctor will most likely suspect that you have idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Some possible testing can include:

  • A basic physical examination and medical history
  • Computed tomography
  • magnetic resonance venography
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Complete blood count
  • Vision tests

How is it diagnosed

Pay attention to your symptoms and make sure to contact your doctor

What’s the treatment?

If your doctor cannot find the cause of the high pressure, they call it IIH. In that case, there are treatments that can help. For most people who have IIH, these treatments have proven to help them with symptoms.

  1. Weight loss – overweight or obese individuals who have idiopathic intracranial hypertension can often get rid of most symptoms by losing weight. Losing about five to ten percent of the body weight can lessen the symptoms. But make sure to talk to your doctor first.
  2. Medicine – in some cases your doctor can recommend a medicine that is called Diamox, along with weight loss.
  3. Surgery – if other treatment plans did not work, your doctor could suggest surgery. A surgery can help relieve pressure, by making a small hole and adding a thin tube to drain extra fluid from around the brain and the rest of the body.

Talk to your doctor

If you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, it is important that you visit your doctor. Experiencing a headache from time to time is usually nothing to be concerned for. But extremely painful and frequent headaches often mean that there is something else going on. You can check out transient ischaemic attack treatment in Sydney or visit a local doctor instead.

Final word

IIH is not a common condition, but it is always better to have a proper consultation with your doctor. As it was mentioned, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you just do not feel good, it is important to visit your doctor.