Frequent headaches without pronounced localization may indicate a pathological change in intracranial pressure. This can be dangerous, so it is important to diagnose in time. We will figure out how to measure intracranial pressure and whether it can be done independently.
Norm and deviation
Normal intracranial pressure (ICP) causes adequate brain activity, blood circulation and metabolism. Its level should normally have the following indicators - from 5 to 15 mm Hg. Art. In other cases, there is a pathology - intracranial hypertension (increased ICP) or hypotension (lower intracranial pressure).
Uncontrolled pressure on the brain inhibits its activity. Reduced or increased ICP may result in a delay in mental and physical development (if we are talking about children and young bodies), worsening of general well-being, fatigue, a feeling of apathy (you must admit, it is difficult to live and enjoy life with constant headaches, nausea, etc.) .), violation of work of some organs, strokes. In severe cases, it can even be fatal.
Diagnosis of ICP
Various methods are used to determine intracranial pressure in adults.
- Invasive - that is, those that consist in penetration through the natural barriers of the body. For example, to determine ICP, a puncture of the spinal canal or ventricles of the brain is taken. To do this, they introduce a catheter, and then attach a special device - a pressure gauge, with the help of which they make measurements. Of course, such methods are carried out by specialists only on an outpatient basis. Therefore, if you are thinking about how to measure intracranial pressure at home, you will have to leave this thought: this is not possible to do.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography or ultrasound. Of course, these methods are not as scary as the first, and are painless. But, unfortunately, these technologies can not give such results as puncture, because they are often not too informative and completely useless. And computed tomography and does pose some danger due to radiation.
- Echoencephalography is also practiced, in which the brain is examined using ultrasound. However, this method is inferior to puncture in its effectiveness.
- Eye fundus examination by an ophthalmologist helps clarify the picture. Therefore, a visit to this specialist should be mandatory.
Symptoms to help determine the change in ICP
This is how adult intracranial pressure is measured. Independent detection of the pathological level of ICP, as we found out, is impossible. However, some symptoms may help you suspect that something is wrong. When changing intracranial pressure, in particular, there are:
- severe headaches, which are aggravated by bending, sharp turns, lifting or squatting;
- memory impairment;
- noise in the head;
- general weakness and high fatigue;
- blurred vision and visual defects (dark spots or "flies" before the eyes, doubling of objects).
Measurement of ICP in children
If everything is clear with adults, how to measure intracranial pressure in a child? For children of younger, middle and older people, they use practically the same methods as for older generations. But what to do with the baby? After all, in a long "pipe" (the one that is for an MRI) you will not put it, and he will hardly tell you about the noise in your head.
To determine intracranial pressure, or rather, to identify changes in normal ICP in infants, use their methods. First of all, with the help of a centimeter, the circumference of the baby's head is measured: the tape is put in place over the eyebrows and the head is wrapped around it, passing through the most protruding point of the back of the head. Then examine the fontanel of the newborn using ultrasound. Also, the child should be examined by an ophthalmologist.
The question of how to measure intracranial pressure can be asked if external symptoms are observed. To suspect a deviation from the norm gives the basis:
- unreasonable crying and nervousness;
- trembling chin when crying;
- abnormal increase in head size;
- swelling or protrusion of fontanel;
- formation of a clearly distinguishable venous reticulum on the scalp;
- frequent regurgitation;
- changing the location of the pupils, rolling their eyes or their incomplete cover;
- lethargy and apathy.
Pediatricians often diagnose "increased (reduced) intracranial pressure," although in fact it is quite rare. This is done, rather, in order to play it safe by referring you to a specialist. After all, it is better to suspect and exclude the diagnosis than to leave it without proper attention. Therefore, first of all, do not be alarmed and do not panic if you hear something like that. But it’s still worth going to a neurologist, especially if you notice one or several symptoms in your baby for several days.
Non-normal ICP may (although not necessarily) indicate the presence of brain tumors, malformations of the central nervous system and other serious problems. Therefore, it is extremely important to undergo a diagnostic examination in time and make an appointment with an optometrist and a neurologist. At home, to identify (and even more to solve) the problem will not work.