Pseudotumor cerebri is a disorder related to high pressure in the brain. It causes signs and symptoms of a brain tumor. The term “pseudo” means false. Pseudotumor cerebri is also called intracranial hypertension or benign intracranial hypertension.
The fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain is called cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. If too much fluid is produced or not enough is re-absorbed, the CSF can build up. This can cause symptoms like those of a brain tumor.
Pseudotumor cerebri is classified into these categories:
Experts don't know why this condition develops. Some medicines have been linked to an increased risk of developing it. These include common drugs like birth control pills, certain antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, steroids, and some acne medicines.
The symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri mimic those of a true brain tumor. The main sign is unusually high pressure inside the skull, known as intracranial hypertension.
Other symptoms include:
These symptoms may look like other medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
You may find that certain symptoms increase when you're exerting yourself. Exercise tends to raise the pressure in the skull.
Anyone can develop pseudotumor cerebri. But, some people are at higher risk for the condition including:
A physical exam and a few tests can help identify pseudotumor cerebri and rule out a real tumor.
A doctor may do the following tests:
Diagnosis involves ruling out other health problems including brain tumor.
Treatment can vary based on what is causing the fluid to build up inside the skull. Treatment options include:
Untreated pseudotumor cerebri can result in permanent problems such as vision loss. Regular eye exams and checkups are recommended to treat any eye problems before they get worse.
It's also possible for symptoms to occur again even after treatment. Regular checkups to help monitor symptoms and screen for an underlying problem are important.
Since obesity has been linked to pseudotumor cerebri, following a healthy, low-fat diet and getting plenty of exercise may help reduce your risk for the condition.
Any changes in vision should be checked out by a doctor right away. Diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term complications such as vision loss.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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