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.