This brain pressure problem causes headache, eye diseases

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In a new study, researchers found a brain pressure disorder called idiopathic intracranial hypertension is on the rise, and the increase corresponds with rising obesity rates.

They also found that for women, socioeconomic factors like income, education and housing may play a role in their risk.

The research was conducted by a team at Swansea University in Wales in the United Kingdom.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is when the pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain rises.

It can mimic the symptoms of a brain tumor, causing chronic, disabling headaches, vision problems and in rare cases, vision loss.

It is most often diagnosed in women of childbearing age. Treatment is often weight loss. In some cases, surgery may be required.

In the study, the team used a national healthcare database in Wales to analyze 35 million patient-years of data over a 15-year period, between 2003 and 2017.

They identified 1,765 people with idiopathic intracranial hypertension during that time. Of the group, 85% were women.

For every one person with the disorder, researchers compared three people without it who were matched for gender, age and socioeconomic status.

Overall, they found a 600% increase in the number of cases of the disorder over the course of the study.

The increasing number of people living with the disorder corresponded to rising obesity rates in Wales during the study, with 29% of the population being obese in 2003 compared to 40% in 2017.

There were strong links for both men and women between body mass index and risk of the disorder.

Researchers also found that for women only, socioeconomic factors were linked to risk.

There were 452 women in the group with the fewest socioeconomic advantages compared to 197 in the group with the most.

The team says more research is needed to determine which socioeconomic factors such as diet, pollution, smoking, or stress may play a role in increasing a woman’s risk of developing this disorder.

One author of the study is William Owen Pickrell, Ph.D., M.R.C.P.

The study is published in Neurology.

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