Brain pressure or increased intracranial pressure is a serious health concern. In addition to headaches, pressure in the brain can damage the organ or the spinal cord. Some people experience disruptions to vision, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, and changes in behavior. The sooner one can receive treatment for suspected or confirmed brain pressure, the better to prevent permanent injury.
Hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluids deep inside the cavities of the brain, occurs most typically in infants and adults over age 60, but it can affect people of any age. As fluid increases, the brain's ventricles also increase in size, and this expansion puts pressure on the brain. Although cerebrospinal fluid typically flows through these ventricles, too much can damage brain tissue and cause impairment.
High blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease as well as conditions such as increased intracranial pressure. The body has various mechanisms designed to autoregulate the pressure associated with blood flowing through the brain, but high blood pressure can throw that regulation out of whack. If a medical practitioner suspects high blood pressure is causing increased brain pressure, medication and dietary changes can help reduce the risk of future complications.
An aneurysm in the brain is a serious and possibly life-threatening health concern. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause bleeding in the brain that can then lead to increased intracranial pressure. Ruptured aneurysms can be fatal. People who experience them report experiencing the worst headache they’ve ever had. Other symptoms such as vomiting, dilated pupils, changes in vision, and facial numbness can also occur.
In addition to ruptured aneurysms, other conditions that cause bleeding can lead to death or permanent brain damage. Bleeding in the brain causes brain cells to die. Head trauma or an aneurysm can lead to this, but so can blood disorders, brain tumors, and even liver disease.
Although many brain tumors are not cancerous, they can still cause increased brain pressure and other problems that can put a person’s life at risk. A brain tumor occurs when a mass of abnormal cells accumulate. As the tumor grows in size, it becomes more likely to harm the surrounding tissues of the brain.
Blood pooling in any area of the brain can also cause increased pressure. This can occur due to injury to the brain or an aneurysm that begins leaking. Often, injuries like car accidents or falls lead to this side effect. Symptoms include a headache, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, fatigue, and vomiting.
An injury or trauma to the skull and brain can lead to increased intracranial pressure. As mentioned, falls and car accidents are often responsible for this type of injury. Serious trauma that affects the brain can be life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention. Injury can lead to blood pooling and bleeding, which can cause permanent damage to brain tissues.
A stroke occurs due to a reduction or interruption of oxygen to the brain. This can quickly lead to the death of brain cells as they become deprived of nutrients and oxygen. Some people may experience increased brain pressure, as well as symptoms like slurred speech, confusion, trouble speaking, numbness or paralysis of the face or limbs, and difficulty walking. The sooner a person having a stroke receives medical care, the better the prognosis.
An infection in the brain, such as encephalitis or meningitis, can cause increased brain pressure. These infections can be life-threatening. Whether caused by a virus, fungus, or bacterium, if brain tissue becomes inflamed, people can experience symptoms such as a stiff neck, nausea, fever, confusion, fatigue, and intense headache.
Brain swelling or cerebral edema is a condition that can cause increased brain pressure. Injury or infection can cause the condition, which is often difficult to treat. Symptoms of brain swelling can include headache, seizures, confusion, stupor, dizziness, memory loss, neck pain or stiffness, and difficulty speaking.
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