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Pseudotumour cerebri (say "soo-doh-TOO-mer SAIR-uh-bry") is an increase in pressure of the fluid that surrounds the brain. Your doctor may also call the condition "idiopathic intracranial hypertension." Normally, this clear fluid acts like a buffer to protect the brain. It is called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF. It's not clear what makes the CSF pressure rise. Some medicines may cause it. Sleep apnea, obesity, and anemia may also play a part.
The pressure may build over time. The rising pressure can make the optic nerve swell. The optic nerve is at the back of the eye. It carries visual information from the eye to the brain. The swelling may damage the nerve and lead to permanent loss of some or all of the eyesight.
There are several symptoms of rising CSF pressure. Some symptoms may be present all the time. Some might come and go. Symptoms include:
The word "pseudotumour" may sound scary. But it's not a brain tumour. The condition gets its name because the pressure inside the skull can mimic what happens when a person has a tumour.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Current as of: December 13, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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