The key difference between hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri is that hydrocephalus is a defect responsible for the building up of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, while pseudotumor cerebri is the elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the brain, which mimics a tumor.
Brain conditions come in different forms. Infections, trauma, stroke, seizures, tumors, hydrocephalus, and pseudotumor cerebri are some of the major categories of brain conditions. Hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri are two brain conditions associated with each other. However, they are completely different brain diseases. They need to be treated immediately as these conditions are life-threatening.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Hydrocephalus
3. What is Pseudotumor Cerebri
4. Similarities – Hydrocephalus and Pseudotumor Cerebri
5. Hydrocephalus vs Pseudotumor Cerebri in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Hydrocephalus vs Pseudotumor Cerebri
What is Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is a brain condition that causes the building up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This excess fluid can put pressure on the brain. Therefore, hydrocephalus can damage the brain. If this condition is left untreated, it can be fatal. The symptoms of hydrocephalus may include headache, being sick, blurred vision, difficulty walking, learning disabilities, speech problems, memory problems, short attention span, problems with organizational skills, problems with physical coordination, and epilepsy. There are three types of hydrocephalus: congenital (present since birth), acquired (develops after birth), and normal pressure (usually only develops in older patients). Moreover, hydrocephalus can be caused due to various reasons such as spina bifida, infections the mother develops during pregnancy such as mumps or rubella, after an illness, injury, or stroke.
Hydrocephalus can be diagnosed through physical examination, assessing bladder control ability, blood tests, and imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans. Furthermore, hydrocephalus is treated by using a thin tube or shunt that is surgically implanted in the brain, which helps to drain away excess fluid, and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), which allows trapped fluid to escape to the surface where it can be absorbed.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Pseudotumor cerebri is a brain condition that causes the elevation of cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the brain. Normally, after circulating, the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) is reabsorbed into the body through blood vessels. However, if it produces too much CSF or is not reabsorbed enough, the CSF builds up. This causes pressure within the skull and leads to pseudotumor cerebri. The symptoms of this condition may include vision changes or vision loss, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, persistent ringing in the ear, forgetfulness, and depression. The pseudotumor cerebri can be caused due to hormonal changes in females, excess weight, certain medications (lithium, tetracyclines, certain steroids, and vitamin A), blood vessel irregularities, and sleep apnea.
Pseudotumor cerebri can be diagnosed through physical examination, brain imaging (MRI and CT scan), lumbar puncture, eye examination, and testing for intracranial pressure. Furthermore, treatment options for pseudotumor cerebri include weight loss, limiting fluid and salts in the diets, medications such as diuretics, a spinal tap to remove fluid and reduce pressure, surgical placement of a shunt to remove fluid from the brain, surgery to decompress increased CSF fluid around the optic nerve, and placement of a stent in the draining venous sinuses if it is narrowed.
What are the Similarities Between Hydrocephalus and Pseudotumor Cerebri?
- Hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri are two brain conditions.
- They are two related brain conditions.
- Both conditions can be due to problems of CSF accumulation in the brain.
- Hydrocephalus increases the risk of having pseudotumor cerebri.
- Both conditions may have similar symptoms, such as headaches, vision problems, and learning difficulties.
- Both conditions can be diagnosed through physical examination and imaging scanning.
- They are treated through specific medications and surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Hydrocephalus and Pseudotumor Cerebri?
Hydrocephalus is the building up of CSF in the brain, while pseudotumor cerebri is the elevated CSF pressure in the brain. Thus, this is the key difference between hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri. Furthermore, infants and older people have a high risk of developing hydrocephalus. On the other hand, females have a high risk of developing pseudotumor cerebri.
The below infographic presents the differences between hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Hydrocephalus vs Pseudotumor Cerebri
Hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri are two brain conditions. They can be due to problems of CSF accumulation in the brain. Both conditions may have similar symptoms, such as headaches, vision problems, and learning difficulties. However, hydrocephalus is the building up of fluid in the brain, while pseudotumor cerebri is the elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the brain. So, this summarizes the difference between hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri.
1. “Hydrocephalus.”NHS Choices, NHS.
2. “Pseudotumor Cerebri (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
1. “Hydrocephalus (cropped)” By Lucien Monfils – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Retina photo of a left eye, patient with severe Idiopathic Cranial Hypertension (aka Psuedotumor Cerebri)” By DocSee04 – Own work (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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