Also called pseudotumor cerebri or “false brain tumor” this condition involves the spaces around the brain and spinal cord. These areas are filled with cerebrospinal fluid to cushion and nourish the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes the pressure in these spaces increases. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension refers to a pressure increase with no known cause.

Intracranial hypertension can also be caused by:

  • Certain medicines, such as tetracycline
  • Blood clot in the brain
  • Excessive intake of vitamin A
  • Brain tumor

Headaches and vision loss are the most common symptoms. Chronic intracranial hypertension can lead to swelling and optic nerve damage.

Treatments include:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced salt intake
  • Medicines to decrease the production of cerebrospinal fluid

If needed, surgery is performed to reduce pressure on the optic nerve or to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid to reduce the pressure.