Many patients presenting with raised intracranial pressure will find that there is, apparently, no known cause for their condition. Even it is essential to receive prompt treatment of even benign intracranial pressure in order to avoid permanent damage to sight.
Whilst there is no known cause for benign intracranial pressure there are some known risk factors, including –
As well as some known risk factors there are also some known associations –
It may also be noticed by the patient that they are experiencing a gradual worsening of their vision – some greying out, or short flashes of lights or a halo effect. There may also be some persistent blurring.
As the benign intracranial pressure worsens the patient may become drowsy and complain of nausea – followed usually by vomiting.
Since all of these symptoms may also be caused by something other than benign intracranial pressure some investigation by a medical practitioner maybe necessary in order to exclude any other possible causes.
Immediately after diagnosis a patient will be clearly advised to lose weight since obesity is a high level risk factor for benign intracranial pressure. Diuretic medication may also be supplied as a prerequisite for other treatment under consideration and to help reduce the intracranial pressure. The aim of treatment will be relief of symptoms and prevention of further deterioration in the optic nerve. If it is suspected that there is an underlying condition then this must be treated immediately – if there are any suspect medications in the patients existing regime then they must be stopped. It may be necessary to undergo a series of lumbar punctures in order to control the intracranial pressure. Oral steroids such as prednisone may be prescribed for headache relief.
In the event of the failure of non-invasive treatments then surgery will need to be considered – with optic nerve decompression and lumboperitoneal shunting both being an option.
Whilst most patients do respond well to treatment it has been noted that the recurral rate is fairly high – around 30% of patients will have a relapse. As many as 50% of patients may suffer some permanent vision loss and around 10% will be left with significant disability.
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