What is BIH?

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What is BIH?
BIH or Benign Intracranial Hypertension refers to an illness involving the brain. This condition is characterized by an elevated intracranial pressure in the brain but with no obvious or detected brain pathology like tumors and lesions. Some people refer to BIH as IIH or idiopathic intracranial hypertension because this medical condition has no known and/or definite cause.

BIH is considered a rare brain condition affecting only 1 person for every 100,000 persons. This condition may be idiopathic but medical data suggests that this is common among women who are obese and at a child-bearing age. Many medical experts believe that the hormonal changes in a woman’s body is what causes the increase in intracranial pressure in the brain. Studies also indicate that some drugs like contraceptive pills and tetracycline may also induce elevated levels of intracranial pressure.

BIH symptoms include headaches, dizziness, visual problems, ringing in the ears, problems in recalling information, and increased sensitivity to bright lights. Some people may also feel nauseated secondary to the headache and dizziness. In some cases, pain in the back may also be felt by patients, along with stiffness in various joints of the body.

A full physical examination is needed to help diagnose BIH. Most patients are required to undergo blood tests, brain scans, and lumbar puncture to aid doctors in pinpointing the actual brain condition. These tests and laboratory procedures are also done to check possible brain pathology. And since BIH is common among overweight persons, diet and weight loss advice is part of the treatment and management process. Medications are also given depending on the specific symptoms. Those experiencing headaches and joint pains for example are given drugs that have sedative effects. For severe visual problems, surgery may be the only option. This is done in hoping that the total blindness will not occur.

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