Howdy Hydrocephalus

Understanding my unique gyroscope

NPH – Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus


On my quest to find out more information about my condition, I have come to the conclusion that there is lots of info for children and older adults.   Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus or NPH it is commonly called, usually affects adults over 65 years old and can be from no known cause or developed secondary as a result of brain trauma (bleed, tumor, infection).  I was fascinated by how NPH can be easily misdiagnosed as  dementia,  Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease.  Approximately 5-15% of the patients with dementia have undiagnosed NPH.  Once treated for NPH their dementia often disappears and quality of life increases.

I haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy for years, but I will have to watch season six episode eight because one of the cases is thought to have Alzheimers but instead has NPH.

TV Guide recaps season six, episode eight titled New History where

Izzie pops up at Seattle Grace, but reconciling with Alex is not on her mind. Instead, she begs Meredith to ask Derek to examine Dr. Singer, her high school biologist. Izzie crossed paths with him while staying with her mom in her hometown, and because he’s believed to have Alzheimer’s disease, he’s been removed from teaching and put in a nursing home. Izzie, however, believes he’s too young to have Alzheimer’s and believes he could have inter-cranial bleeding due to a fall.

Unfortunately, all of Derek’s tests come back negative, but because everything out Dr. Singer’s mouth is about Izzie at age 15, Derek assigns Dr. Percy to do a full dementia workup. Since Izzie partly blames being fired on Dr. Percy, she is less than thrilled to have him on the case. They argue about Alex and pretty much everything else, including Izzie’s demands that Dr. Percy do a spinal tap. He reluctantly does, but the results are also normal.

Suddenly, however, Dr. Singer is completely lucid. Because of the spinal tap, excess fluid that had been crowding Dr. Singer’s brain was relieved and restored his capabilities. Derek decides all that is needed is a permanent shunt.

During my Internet searches, I did find a closed facebook group called Adult Hydrocephalus that currently has 17 members.  There is a website attached to this group but it does not offer much information as the website is still being developed.  So far in this blogging journey I have met some great mother’s with children who may be pre-disposed to hydrocephalus due to their various neurological syndromes.  I will hope to share some of their experiences in the future.

If you have a parent, partner or friend who is over 65 and is showing signs of dementia, please have the doctors rule in or out hydrocephalus.  Adovcate for your friends and family and educate your doctors on the mimicing symptoms that NPH has to dementia.


2 thoughts on “NPH – Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

  1. Great post to share. I have Trigeminal Neuralgia that causes me to have numbness and pain and tingling all down the right side of my face every day (it’s like someone drew a line right down the middle with black marker because the stabs of pain and tingling rarely cross it), so I can relate mildly on those conditions. I had it for about 5 years before figuring out what it was, but I have yet to have an MRI. I did have a CT to rule out tumor as a cause (yay, no alien growths in my skull), but don’t know what is causing it until I finally get an MRI. It does impede my living at times, but the medications they put me on had me asleep at 5pm and that does not work, being a mom of three and employed full time and I only made it to one third of the dose they wanted me on! I can’t imagine how I would have been able to function more than an hour or two a day if I was on the full course of meds. So I have opted to not take the gabapentin or whatever it was called until I can no longer tolerate the pain/zaps (its like being electrocuted over and over in random spots on the face – very strange stuff). But I sometimes feel like people will think I have something different wrong with me because the tingles set off my jaw muscle and clamp my mouth shut – however, a few sessions at a chiropractor this summer relieved most of that for now! woot!

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