Pseudotumor Cerebri Symptoms:
The most common symptom of pseudotumor cerebri is pain in the back. There are many other symptoms which include numbness, tingling, weakness or paralysis of one side of your body. These symptoms usually occur only after the disease has progressed to a certain stage. You may experience these symptoms even if you have no signs and symptoms at all.
Some of the possible causes of pseudotumor cerebri are:
1) Other diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury.
2) A brain tumor (glioblastoma).
3) Lifestyle factors like smoking or alcohol abuse.
4) Infections like herpes simplex virus 2.
5) Certain drugs like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
How to Diagnose Pseudotumor Cerebri?
There are several tests which can be done to diagnose pseudotumor cerebri. One of them is called a spinal tap test. This involves injecting a small amount of blood into the area where the symptoms occur and checking it for the presence of certain proteins and antibodies. It is very similar to how a routine blood test is done, but there are small differences. The other test involves using an MRI scan to examine your brain and spinal cord. The exact cause of this condition is not known but studies have shown that in some people the pressure inside their skull is greater than normal. This can also be detected by using various tests like the lumbar puncture and an MRI scan.
How is Pseudotumor Cerebri Treated?
Pseudotumor cerebri is treated with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. These treatments include:
1) Medication to reduce the pressure inside your skull.
The most commonly used drugs are acetazolamide and hydrochlorothiazide. They work by making the kidneys eliminate more sodium and water from the body and thus reducing the fluid retention.
2) Medication to prevent or treat any infections that may have occurred due to pseudotumor cerebri.
3) Eye drops to reduce the pressure in the eyes.
Making certain lifestyle changes can also help relieve the symptoms of this condition:
1) Maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise.
2) Avoid activities that put pressure on your head or spine like riding a roller coaster.
3) Don’t sit in the same position for too long.
4) Don’t smoke or drink alcohol as they may increase the risk of pseudotumor cerebri.
5) Don’t go out in the sun unprotected as this can damage your eyes.
You should seek medical advice on the use of these medications and lifestyle changes so that the best course of treatment for you can be planned.
Sources & references used in this article:
Magnetic resonance imaging in pseudotumor cerebri by MC Brodsky, M Vaphiades – Ophthalmology, 1998 – Elsevier
The incidence of pseudotumor cerebri: population studies in Iowa and Louisiana by FJ Durcan, JJ Corbett, M Wall – Archives of Neurology, 1988 – jamanetwork.com
Revised diagnostic criteria for the pseudotumor cerebri syndrome in adults and children by DI Friedman, GT Liu, KB Digre – Neurology, 2013 – AAN Enterprises