Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Cases Are on The Rise

Incidence, prevalence, and healthcare outcomes in idiopathic intracranial hypertension: A population study

The study used patient data from the Wales region in the UK and analyzed data collected between 2003 and 2017.

Intracranial hypertension is a condition of increased pressure within the skull. Normally there is a typical range of pressure (called intracranial pressure) that is maintained around the brain. However, when this pressure increases abnormally, serious problems can occur. In some cases, this condition appears without apparent cause and most frequently impacts women from age 20-50. Risk factors include tetracycline use, being overweight, or recent weight gain.

The results of this study clearly demonstrate the rates of idiopathic intracranial hypertension are increasing with obesity rates. Clearly obesity is not only increasing in Wales and is a growing problem, particularly in the developed world. In fact, rates of obesity tripled between the years 1975 and 2016. With this in mind, it’s certainly possible that rates of this disease are also increasing in other regions where obesity is becoming more common.

The connection between this disease, obesity, and the potentially debilitating complications that it can cause has major implications for the health systems and policy in Wales and other regions where rates are likely increasing. The increase in disease prevalence also places an increased urgency on the need for more effective treatment approaches. While there are multiple procedures, lifestyle changes, and medications that can help resolve the symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, the fact remains that there are still a significant portion of patients that develop chronic symptoms that don’t resolve with current treatments.

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