Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
It is possible that the main title of the report Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
Intracranial Hypertension (IH) is characterized by increased pressure inside the skull. Intracranial means inside the skull and hypertension means high fluid pressure. Intracranial hypertension means that the pressure of the fluid that surrounds the brain (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) is too high. Elevated CSF pressure often produces severe headache with visual difficulties, which, if left untreated can result in permanent loss of vision or blindness.
Pseudotumor cerebri and benign intracranial hypertension are both former names for IH, which are now considered inaccurate. These names do not adequately describe the disorder and downplay the seriousness of IH. There are two categories of IH: primary intracranial hypertension and secondary intracranial hypertension.
Primary intracranial hypertension, now known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), occurs without known cause. This form most often occurs in young, overweight, females in their reproductive years (ages 20-45).
Secondary intracranial hypertension has an identifiable, causative agent, including drugs
(such as tetracycline, lithium, Vitamin A-derived oral acne medications or excessive ingestion of Vitamin A, and oral or intrathecal steroids, growth hormone treatments), sleep apnea and certain systemic diseases such as lupus, leukemia, kidney failure (uremia), meningitis and dural venous sinus thrombosis. There is an association of IH and Chiari type I malformation. Many other causes have been suggested in the medical literature but have not yet been confirmed as true causes. It is critical in these patients to rule out an intracranial space occupying mass by neuro-imaging (CT or MRI).
Although many factors are known to trigger the disease, the mechanism by which IH occurs, in either primary or secondary forms, is not known. In many cases, either type of IH may be chronic.
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Intracranial Hypertension Research Foundation
6517 Buena Vista Dr
Vancouver, WA 98661
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation
29 Crest Loop
Melville, NY 11747
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Last Updated: 3/2/2012
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