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Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: Does it Interfere with Your Vision?

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
January 24th, 2022
7 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Intracranial hypertension causes a sudden and severe headache
  • There are primary and secondary intracranial hypertension stages
  • Vomiting, peripheral vision loss, and fatigue are a few IIH symptoms

A condition in which the pressure in your skull increases is known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). This condition occurs when there is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid around your brain. When this fluid builds up, it can increase the pressure on your optic nerves. These nerves are responsible for your vision. IIH can cause changes in your vision, headaches or even temporary blindness. 

The shocking fact is that symptoms of this condition mimic brain tumor symptoms. While medications can reduce IIH symptoms, in extreme cases, you may have to undergo surgery. Though this condition occurs both in adults and children, obese women of reproductive age are more susceptible [1]. Read on to learn more facts about intracranial hypertension

Additional read: 8 High BP Symptoms in Women to be Careful About!

What do you mean by idiopathic intracranial hypertension?

Before learning about IIH, it is important to have an answer to the question ‘what is hypertension?’ When blood pressure increases above normal values, it is known as hypertension. If not checked on time, this condition can affect your kidneys, heart, and brain. According to WHO, approximately 1.28 billion individuals are suffering from hypertension [2]. There are two main types of hypertension such as [3]:

  • Primary, which is the most common type
  • Secondary, which is caused due to existing medical conditions

If you are wondering how to manage hypertension, all you need to do is follow certain precautionary measures. These are as follows:

  • Reduce the amount of salt you consume
  • Minimize alcohol intake
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid food for high BP so that your BP level does not increase

Idiopathic means there is no definite cause. When high pressure develops in your skull, it results in (IIH) idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Similar to hypertension, there are two intracranial hypertension stages too that include primary and secondary stages.

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

What are the different intracranial hypertension causes?

IIH may occur due to preexisting conditions like blood clots or a tumor in the brain. In a sudden episode of IIH, these are a few possible causes such as:

  • Stroke
  • Pus accumulation in the brain
  • Swelling in your brain
  • Head injury

How can IIH symptoms affect you?

One of the most prominent symptoms of IIH is the onset of a severe and sudden headache. It can be so painful that your sleep can get affected. There may be vision problems as well. Some of the other signs of IIH include:

  • Nausea
  • Peripheral vision loss
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Ringing noise in the ears
  • Pain in your shoulder and neck

Diet for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)

Who is more susceptible to IIH?

This condition affects women more than men, especially between 20 and 50 years of age. Certain other conditions that may increase your risk of IIH include:

What are the idiopathic intracranial hypertension treatment and diagnosis options?

Just like a BP test that can diagnose hypertension, you can diagnose IIH with the help of the following tests:

  • Eye examination to check if there is any swelling near optic nerves
  • Visual field test to determine if there are any blind spots in the vision
  • Lumbar puncture to check the level of cerebrospinal fluid
  • MRI
  • CT scan of the brain
  • Tests to check if your muscle strength and reflexes are working properly

IIH symptoms can be improved with proper management. If your BMI levels are high, reducing your weight may help in treating symptoms. You may be prescribed certain medications by your doctor to minimize the production of CSF. Certain pills may also help in decreasing fluid retention. In cases where there are severe IIH symptoms, you may need to undergo surgery. The surgery involves the placement of a spinal fluid shunt for draining excess CSF formed in the brain. While there are ayurvedic medicine for BP, it is not sure if there are any for IIH. 

Additional read: Ayurvedic Medicine for High BP: Try These 7 Top Herbs to Control Your BP!

Now that you have a better understanding of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, you must visit your doctor the moment you notice any symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause permanent vision loss too. For any health issues, you can connect to top neurologists on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book an online doctor consultation and address your symptoms from the comfort of your home itself!

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