A new study warns that obesity may afflict people with a brain disorder that can cause chronic headaches and blindness.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, the study conducted by researchers from Wales looked at the data of 35 million patients over a 15-year period. The study team identified 1765 cases of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a condition that gives symptoms similar to those of brain tumors. .
This condition occurs when pressure rises in the fluid surrounding the brain, which may cause a chronic headache and varying degrees of vision problems may lead to blindness. Women of childbearing age are considered the most vulnerable to it.
The team found strong links between BMI and risk of developing the condition.
Among the women identified in the study, 180 cases had a high body mass index, compared to only 13 cases who had an “ideal” body mass index.
For men, there were 21 cases with a high body mass index, compared to eight with an ideal body mass index.
The team also found that – for women only – socioeconomic factors appeared to play a role in determining their risk of developing the condition. Women who had fewer social and economic benefits had a 1.5 times higher risk of developing this condition than others.
The study team said that the diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension increased six times between 2003 and 2017. The number of people living with the disorder increased from 12 out of every 100,000 people to 76.
“The significant increase in cases of idiopathic intracranial hypertension that we found may be due to many factors, but it is very likely due to high rates of obesity,” said study author and consultant neurologist Dr. Owen Pickrell. “The most surprising thing about our study is that women who suffer from poverty or other social and economic problems may also have an increased risk of developing this condition, regardless of obesity,” he added.
Becquerel noted that more research is needed to determine the effect of other socio-economic factors such as diet, pollution, smoking or stress on the increased risk of developing idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
The study has been published in the Scientific Neuroscience Journal.
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