Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 01.06.2018

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Intracranial pressure is an indicator that reflects the degree of pressure of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain. Such pressure depends on the amount of cerebrospinal fluid and on the quality of its circulation and absorption.

The pressure inside the skull is maintained by complicated processes, so the symptoms of increased intracranial pressure appear as signs of the possible onset of pathological processes that must be taken into account.

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Symptoms of increased cranial pressure

The intensified compressive effect on the brain can provoke some disorders in the work of the nervous system, many of these disorders and determine the main symptoms of increased cranial pressure:

  • feeling of bursting and heaviness of the head, frequent headache, exacerbating closer to the morning, and by the evening a little subsiding;
  • disorders of the digestive system, nausea, in some cases accompanied by vomiting, observed at the peak of the headache;
  • signs of vegetovascular dystonia (turbidity of consciousness, increased sweating, spasmodic arterial pressure, tachycardia or bradycardia);
  • sharp weakness, absolute apathy, inability to concentrate, unmotivated fatigue;
  • spontaneous irritability, inadequate reaction to the surrounding reality;
  • dark circles under the eyes, widening of the intradermal capillaries around the eyes;
  • marked deterioration of libido, unwillingness to have sex;
  • when the person is in the horizontal position for a long time, the signs of an increase in the cranial pressure are aggravated, the headache grows;
  • the pressure inside the skull is directly proportional to atmospheric pressure, so the patient's condition becomes meteodependent;
  • visual disorders: blurring of the picture, doubling, inability to focus the view.

The combination of the described signs with a high temperature, motor and brain disorders (the appearance of hallucinations, delirium) can signal the development of inflammatory processes in the brain.

Concomitant to this symptomatic significant weight loss may be a sign of cancer of the brain.

The above symptoms, which appeared soon after a severe head injury, may indicate a possible damage to the structure of the brain.

The first signs of increased cranial pressure

One of the earliest signs of a sharp increase in cranial pressure is a symptom of the enlargement of one or two pupils and the absence of their response to a light ray. There can be a simultaneous decrease in the muscle tone of the upper and lower extremities, weakness of the facial musculature. With the progressive development of hypertension, symptoms of impairment of the function of the brain stem can be observed-these are stupor manifestations up to a coma, a disorder of consciousness, changes in the respiratory rhythm and depth of inspiration, and the intensification or slowing of the heart rate.

The very first signs of an increase in cranial pressure are determined by drowsiness, bouts of yawning, twitching of hands and feet. Breathing is uneven, inconsistent, there are constant attempts to take a deep breath.

If the cranial pressure rises gradually, the clinical picture does not have such severe symptoms: patients mark pain in the head (everywhere, without specific localization), nausea with vomiting (which does not bring relief), persistent hiccups, drowsy condition, impaired visual function.

When measuring blood pressure, there is an increase in the systolic index.

If there is a suspicion of increased intracranial pressure, it is unacceptable to take the medication yourself without consulting a doctor.

Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure in adolescents

When we talk about what can be the symptoms of increased intracranial pressure in adolescents, we have in mind the following symptoms:

  • the child is often exhausted, quickly tired, often apathetic to what is happening, becomes indifferent to what used to be his heightened interest; the child constantly wants to sleep, he can become irritable and whiny;
  • you can see some manifestations of ophthalmic disorders - narrowing of the pupils, signs of strabismus, which were not previously observed;
  • a teenager complains of a persistent debilitating headache, especially at dawn upon awakening; sometimes wakes up early from a painful attack;
  • the child's appearance is tired, bluish circles can be seen near the eyes;
  • the child often vomits independently of meals; there may be fits of vomiting that do not bring relief; nausea is most pronounced at the time of a pain attack;
  • measurement of blood pressure determines the increase in systolic index, the frequency of cardiac activity can range from low to high numbers;
  • There may be small cramps on the upper and lower limbs, sometimes on the face;
  • the child can mark the appearance of "flies" in the eyes, sometimes the image is doubled, the focus of one or two eyes is deteriorated;
  • may be present pressing pains in the eye area, or behind them.

The child is not always able to tell about his painful feelings and health problems, so it's important to be attentive to him, especially in adolescence, to ask about his condition, to analyze the behavior and appearance.

Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure in the elderly

Elderly people have a weaker system of blood flow inside the skull, compared with younger patients. For this reason, they may not have an increase in blood supply to the head vessels even with a marked increase in cranial pressure.

Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure in the elderly are sometimes difficult to recognize due to a sharp increase in the clinical picture of the disease and the immediate attachment of complications. This is due to significant age-related changes that do not allow partial and timely compensation for the gradual increase in cranial pressure. Simply put, the elderly organism no longer has time to restore progressive disorders, which occur one after another.

A sudden headache, nausea, a vomiting attack can quickly develop into a pre-stroke and stroke state, acute cerebral ischemia, which are manifested by symptoms characteristic of these pathological states: paresthesia, numbness of the half of the body, face, motor, speech, swallowing dysfunction, paralysis.

Elderly people, who tend to increase intracranial pressure, should be periodically inspected to avoid adverse effects.

Who to contact?

What to do if symptoms of increased cranial pressure?

When asked what to do with symptoms of high blood pressure, the doctor will answer best. He also can revise the diagnosis, determine the main cause of the symptom, if it is confirmed. After all, it's impossible to measure cranial pressure by yourself, nor can you cure a symptom without knowing its true cause.

There are only recommendations used when there is a suspicion of an increase in cranial pressure:

  • to limit or completely exclude the use of salt in the diet;
  • reduce the daily amount of liquid drunk;
  • possible use of diuretics (diacarb, furosemide, triampur);
  • never go to a sauna or a sauna;
  • You can visit the swimming pool or swim in the pond with cool water;
  • sleep should be in a well-ventilated room on a bed with a raised head, or on a high pillow;
  • Active sports, jumps, somersaults, running, lifting weights are inadmissible;
  • Do not recommend downhill on the elevator, travel by plane;
  • welcome manual therapy, in particular, massage the collar zone;
  • the food ration should be rich in potassium (dried apricots, baked potatoes, vegetables and fruits).

Some methods of alternative medicine may be used:

  • mulberry - twigs or leaves to insist in boiling water for one hour (ratio 1/10), take three times a day for one glass of infusion;
  • poplar - a teaspoon of kidney in a glass of boiling water to keep in a water bath for 15 minutes, drink three times a day;
  • field horsetail - brew a tablespoon of dry grass in a glass of boiling water, drink three meals a day;
  • camphor oil - mixed with alcohol in equal proportions, applied to the head in the form of a compress, it is possible for the night;
  • hawthorn, motherwort, valerian root, mint - mix in equal proportions, pour boiling water and drink during the day, like tea.

Alternative methods of treatment are mainly applicable for uncomplicated and unstable increase in cranial pressure, in more severe cases it is recommended to consult a doctor.

The danger of high blood pressure inside the skull is the mechanical compression of tender brain tissues, which in time can lead to irreversible consequences, violations of many vital body functions. Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure can only be signs of a heavier and more complex disease, therefore, one should take these manifestations seriously.

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