May also be called: Intracranial Hypertension; Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension;
Benign Intracranial Hypertension; Pseudotumor Cerebri;PTC Syndrome; Primary
Intracranial Hypertension; Secondary Intracranial Hypertension
(in-truh-KRAY-nee-ul hy-pur-TEN-shun) is a disorder in which the pressure is too high
in the fluid that surrounds the brain.
More to Know
The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, which
protects and cushions the brain. With intracranial hypertension, something causes
the pressure of the CSF to increase. This can be a side effect of certain medicines
or diseases, but in most cases, there is no certain cause. Doctors aren't sure why
the pressure increases, but it may have something to do with problems in the way CSF
flows out of the brain and is absorbed into the bloodstream.
The high pressure causes extremely painful headaches,
nausea, vomiting, and ringing
in the ears that pulses in time with the person's heartbeat. The pressure also can
cause swelling of the optic nerves, which transmit visual signals from the eyes to
the brain. This can lead to problems like blurred vision or double vision, and in
some cases it can cause permanent blindness.
Intracranial hypertension can affect people of any age and both sexes, but it is
most common in obese women of childbearing age. It's diagnosed by measuring the pressure
of the CSF during a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).
Treatment usually involves medicines that lower the pressure by reducing how fast
CSF is made. In rare cases, surgery may be done to relieve swelling of the optic nerves
or help drain away excess CS
Keep in Mind
Intracranial hypertension is a medical emergency since it can cause blindness.
Treatment usually is effective, and most people have no or minimal vision loss. It can
return after treatment, but keeping a healthy weight may help to prevent this.
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