‘Headaches, vision loss due to obesity a concern among women’

Recently, an adolescent aged 11 and a young woman aged 29, both with obesity, presented with complaints of severe headache, episodes of vomiting and progressive problems with vision.
Representative Image
Representative Image

CHENNAI: The incidence of obesity has risen among school going children and middle-aged population, especially in women. Experts said that these cases increased during the pandemic due to lack of physical activity and change in lifestyle. The sudden spurt of weight gain has been considered to be a major contributor to headache and vision loss.

Recently, an adolescent aged 11 and a young woman aged 29, both with obesity, presented with complaints of severe headache, episodes of vomiting and progressive problems with vision. They were diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a condition usually triggered by various factors in the context of obesity and treated at a private hospital in the city.

Dr. Sivarajan Thandeeswaran, Senior Consultant Stroke and Neurovascular Medicine, Kauvery Hospital, said, “If headache and visual disturbances are persistent a thorough eye check including examination of optic fundus to detect swelling in the optic nerve is important. This condition is also associated with changes in the venous channels of the brain wherein the blood flow into the brain is normal, but the outflow is a little slower."

A test done through lower spinal region recorded the Cerebrospinal Fluid pressure as 28 cm, which is normally 15 cm. Excess fluid was safely let out following which there was dramatic improvement, with almost complete resolution of headache and vision, explained the doctor.

There are instances where people have lost their vision from persistent swelling of the fundus. Experts advised that it is important to diagnose this condition early.

"This incident is an important message for the public, especially youngsters, to prevent obesity and be wary of their vision and brain health. It is unfortunate for school-going children to get such conditions due to lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets which have become prevalent ever since the covid pandemic started. Parents need to ensure that their child's BMI is ideal, and should not neglect any related problems that they may face, " said another doctor.

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