Brazilian Natural Medicine

Intracranial hypertension: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Intracranial hypertension is the medical term that describes increased pressure within the skull and around the spinal cord, which may not have a specific cause, being known as idiopathic, or be caused by trauma or diseases such as a brain tumor, intracranial hemorrhage, nervous system infection, stroke, or side effect of certain medications.

Normally, the normal pressure inside the skull varies between 5 and 15 mmHg, but in intracranial hypertension it is above this value and, therefore, in the most severe cases, it can prevent blood from entering the skull, preventing adequate oxygenation of the brain. .

Since the brain is a very sensitive organ and cannot be deprived of oxygen, hypertension should be treated as soon as possible in the hospital, and it is usually necessary to stay in the hospital for a few days.

Main signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of intracranial hypertension can include:

  • Persistent headache;
  • Change in the level of consciousness;
  • vomiting;
  • Changes in vision, such as dilated pupils, dark spots, double or blurry vision
  • Ringing in the ear;
  • Paralysis of a limb or side of the body;
  • Pain in shoulders or neck.

In some cases, there may even be temporary blindness, in which the person is blind during certain periods of the day. In other people, this blindness can become permanent, depending on how the pressure is affecting the optic nerve.

How to confirm the diagnosis

Intracranial hypertension can be suspected by the doctor only through the symptoms and when there are no other causes that may be resulting in the changes.

However, it is usually necessary to do several tests to confirm the diagnosis and try to find a cause. For this, the most common tests include computed tomography, MRI or even a lumbar puncture. When a cause cannot be identified, hypertension is usually defined as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which means it has no known cause.

What causes intracranial hypertension

Intracranial hypertension is usually caused by a condition that causes an increase in the size of the brain or the amount of brain fluid. Thus, the most frequent causes are:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI);
  • stroke;
  • Brain tumour;
  • Brain infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis;
  • hydrocephalus.

In addition, any changes in the vessels that carry blood to the brain or that allow brain fluid to circulate can also cause increased pressure.

How is the treatment done?

Treatment for intracranial hypertension is usually done while in hospital and depends on the cause. However, it is common for treatment to include injection of corticosteroids, diuretics or barbiturates into the vein, which decrease the amount of fluid in the skull and reduce pressure.

In addition, it is recommended that the person lies on his back and with his back inclined at 30º, to facilitate the drainage of cerebral fluid, as well as to avoid moving his head, as this increases the pressure in the veins.

Always consult a doctor.

Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine CMIO.org

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