Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition in which the pressure within the skull increases, resulting in vision issues, headaches, and other symptoms. When brain fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) does not drain out of the head as it should, this occurs.

When the pressure around the brain is too high, the optic nerve may become irritated and swollen; this can weaken the optic nerve over time, resulting in vision loss. High blood pressure can also damage the nerves that control eye movement, resulting in double vision.

What Causes It?

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

The exact cause of IIH is unknown to doctors. However, since this disorder is more common in young, overweight women, they believe hormones play a role.

IIH can still affect children and adults who are not overweight. Infection, antibiotics, hormones, or high doses of vitamin A can all play a role in these cases.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

● Headaches, usually in the back of the neck. These headaches can be intense enough to keep you awake at night. When you stoop or lean over, your headaches can get worse.
● The way you see things changes. Your vision may be dark, fuzzy, or dull. There could be brief moments where your vision entirely vanishes. Peripheral (side) vision can also be a problem for you.
● In your ear, you can hear a running, swishing, or ringing sound.
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects.

How Is It Diagnosed?

To diagnose idiopathic intracranial hypertension, the ophthalmologist will perform a series of tests. They may include the following:

● An examination of the eyes. Your optic nerve will be examined for swelling by your ophthalmologist. He or she can also examine the field of vision to see if there are any blank spaces.
● Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) can help determine if the symptoms are caused by IIH or by other medical issues.
● A jolt to the spine. This is when the doctor takes a reading of your spinal fluid strain to check for any problems.

What Is the Treatment?

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

If your IIH is not causing severe headaches or vision loss, you do not need medication. Here are some recovery options if you do need them:

● To help lower your CSF pressure, your doctor can prescribe glaucoma medication. You can also be administered diuretics, which aid in the removal of excess fluid from the body.
● Your doctor can advise you to lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
● Your ophthalmologist can make a tiny hole or several tiny slits in part of your optic nerve to protect it from further damage.
● Your ophthalmologist may recommend that you have a shunt implanted in your head if your symptoms are serious. This is a small tube that transports fluid away from where it accumulates. The pressure in your head is reduced with this treatment.

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