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Mystery Diagnosis
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Mystery Diagnosis

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Resource Description: 
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading, global voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research.
The Hydrocephalus Association provides support, education and advocacy for people whose lives have been touched by hydrocephalus and the professionals who work with them.
One quarter million Americans with some of the same symptoms as dementia, Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's may actually have NPH.
NHF provides knowledge, education, support, and assists in finding medical care. We’re here when you need someone to share with.
Episode number: 
812

(Source: Life NPH) Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition which normally occurs in adults 55-years and older. NPH is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) causing the ventricles of the brain to enlarge, in turn, stretching the nerve tissue of the brain causing a triad of symptoms.


How is normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) different from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's?  One quarter million Americans with some of the same symptoms as dementia, Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's may actually have NPH. It’s often difficult to tell the difference because the symptoms of NPH are in many ways similar to those of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. However, the feeling of feet glued to the floor, or difficulty walking is the first symptom to appear in NPH. And it’s different from, for example, Parkinson’s tremors. In Alzheimer’s, memory loss and confusion tend to be early symptoms, whereas in NPH these appear later. Fortunately, once NPH is confirmed, chances are it can be treated.

More about hydrocephalus: 

Hydrocephalus is an abnormal (excessive) accumulation of fluid in the head. The fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid, commonly referred to as CSF. The CSF is located and produced within cavities of the brain called ventricles. The function of CSF is to cushion the delicate brain and spinal cord tissue from injuries and maintain proper balance of nutrients around the central nervous system. Normally, the bloodstream absorbs most of the CSF produced on a daily basis. Every day your body produces a certain amount of CSF and that same amount of CSF is absorbed in the brain. When an imbalance occurs, an excess of CSF fluid builds up resulting in the condition known as hydrocephalus. Left untreated, hydrocephalus will create increased pressure in the head and may result in increased symptoms or brain damage.

Source: Life NPH

Key Point 1

Getting to the right diagnosis often involves working through a problem as the symptoms evolve. Some conditions such as normal pressure hydrocephalus can present with symptoms that can be misdiagnosed as other diseases. 

Key Point 2

Normal pressure hydrocephalus, when diagnosed correctly, can be treated with surgery. Now the earlier the treatment, the more likely the symptoms are going to reverse and we get very good results.

Medline Plus

Medline Description: 

Interactive Medical Search logoConduct an off-site search for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus from MedlinePlus.  These up-to-date search results are based on search terms specific to Second Opinion Key Points.

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