Pseudo-tumor cerebri occurs when pressure increases in the brain for no obvious reason (Increased intra cranial pressure). It resembles symptoms of a brain tumor even though there is none. It is can be seen in children and adults, although it is common in obese women of childbearing age.
Pseudo-tumor cerebri signs such as increased intracranial pressure without any obvious cause can also be called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.The increased intracranial pressure could cause swelling of the optic nerve and affect the vision of the individual.
The cause of pseudo-tumor cerebri is not known but is believed to be due to increased cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. The cerebrospinal fluid cushions the brain and spinal cord and is absorbed into the bloodstream, if for any reason there is decreased absorption of cerebrospinal fluid into the bloodstream, the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases and the content of the brain exceeds the carrying capacity of the brain like in someone with brain tumor in which the tumor exceeds the carrying capacity of the brain leading to increased intracranial pressure.
Studies have shown that people with pseudo-tumor cerebri have narrowing of two large sinuses of the brain. Although it is not yet determined if it is the effect of the condition or the cause.
Signs and symptoms :
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Moderate to severe headache which originates behind the eyes.
- Neck and shoulder pain.
- Double vision(diplopia).
- Seeing light flashes.
- Blurry and dim vision.
- Ringing of the ear that pulses in time with your heartbeat.
Risk factors :
1. Obesity : About 4 to 21 in 100000 of obese women develop pseudotumor cerebri
2. Other medications that can be risk factors include:
*Excess Vitamin A.
*Growth Hormone .
3. And diseases like
*kidney diseases and some other diseases could be risk factors for pseudotumor cerebri.
Complications from pseudotumor cerebri include loss of vision and blindness due to increased intracranial pressure.
For diagnosis a spinal tap known as lumbar puncture,eye exam and brain imaging are needed for diagnostics.
Treatment of pseudotumor cerebri is done majorly to relieve symptoms and prevent the eye from worsening. These drugs may include glaucoma drugs or acetazolamide to decrease intracranial pressure, surgery or spinal shunting may be done as well.
Like they say applied knowledge is power. It is important to know these and see your medical personnel when these symptoms manifest.