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Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Increased Intracranial Pressure

Intracranial pressure is the value of pressure inside the head cavity. This pressure is inside the skull, which means that it covers brain tissue, cerebrospinal fluid and cerebral blood vessels. At certain pressures, intracranial pressure can increase. And this is a condition that should not be underestimated. Increased intracranial pressure that is not treated immediately can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions. Increased intracranial pressure can not only occur in adults, but also in infants and children.

Causes of Increased Intracranial Pressure

The most common cause of a person experiencing an increase in intracranial pressure is an injury to the head, due to a blow or impact on the head. In infants or children, this condition often occurs due to falling from the bed to cause injury to the head, due to an accident, or it could be due to acts of violence on children. One other common cause in children is a congenital condition in the form of congenital hydrocephalus. In addition, this condition can be caused by increased pressure on the cerebrospinal fluid, which is fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Increased intracanal pressure can also occur due to brain tissue swelling due to injury or disease. Conditions or diseases that can be a cause of increased intracranial pressure include:
  • Infection
  • Convulsions
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hypoxemia or reduced oxygen levels in the blood
  • Meningitis, inflammation of the lining of the brain
  • Epilectic status in people with epilepsy
  • Brain hemorrhage due to blood pressure that is too high

Recognize Symptoms that Arise

Increased intracranial blood pressure can be recognized by symptoms such as:
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Feeling confused, dazed, restless or behavior changes occur
More severe symptoms include pupils that do not respond to changes in light, shallow breathing or tightness, convulsions, loss of consciousness to coma. In diagnosing an increase in intracranial pressure, the doctor will usually conduct a medical history and physical examination, including a neurological examination to test the ability of the senses, balance, and mental status or mental condition. Doctors can carry out investigations, such as CT scans and MRIs, to determine the cause of increased intracranial pressure. From this examination can also be known whether there is damage or abnormalities in brain tissue. Another examination that is usually also performed to diagnose increased intracranial pressure is lumbar puncture, which is sampling and analysis of fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This action must be done as indicated, because it can affect the condition of the brain and intracranial pressure.

How to Overcome Increased Intracranial Pressure

The main goal of medical treatment on increasing intracranial pressure is to reduce pressure on the head to reach the expected normal value. One way that is usually done is to reduce cerebrospinal fluid by shunt placement, which is a smooth tube that is connected through a small hole in the skull. This procedure is performed by neurosurgeons, and is often performed on hydrocephalus patients. Other actions doctors can also take to overcome the increase in intracranial pressure are:
  • Treatment in hospitals, making it easier to install breathing apparatus and other medical assistance to help function is disrupted when an increase in intracranial pressure occurs.
  • Provision of certain drugs to reduce swelling of brain tissue and relieve increased intracranial pressure.
  • Open some of the skull bones. This action is done while in an emergency to prevent further damage to brain tissue.
Increased intracranial pressure can occur unexpectedly. Be alert if there are symptoms of increased intracranial pressure due to head injury or other causes. Immediately consult a doctor to ensure that at the same time make appropriate treatment.


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