Looking for information on hydrocephalus? If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with this condition, it is important to understand exactly what it is and what treatment options are available for it. Since hydrocephalus can cause a lot of pressure buildup in the brain, if left untreated it can potentially damage the brain tissue and, as a result, damage brain function.
What causes hydrocephalus?
According to the Mayo Clinic, hydrocephalus is caused by an imbalance between how much cerebrospinal fluid is produced and how much is absorbed into the bloodstream. There are three reasons why this fluid can build up and cause problems, which include a partial obstruction that prevents normal flow, a poor absorption rate and overproduction of cerebrospinal fluid.
Signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus
The signs and symptoms that come with this condition depend on the patient's age. For example, common signs in infants include a very large head, a bulging soft spot, poor muscle strength, sleeplessness, vomiting, irritability and seizures. Common signs in toddlers and older children include headaches, blurred vision, lethargy, nausea, urinary incontinence and a change in personality.
Typical signs in young and middle-aged adults include headaches, loss of balance, lethargy, impaired vision and difficulty thinking. In adults aged 60 or older, common signs include memory loss, poor coordination, difficulty walking and a loss of bladder control.
How hydrocephalus is diagnosed
When someone is showing any signs or symptoms associated with this brain-related condition, it is important for them to make an appointment with an experienced neurosurgeon as soon as possible. They will need to answer a variety of questions in order to give the oral surgeon more information, as well as undergo a physical examination, a neurological examination and one or more imaging tests. Imaging tests include ultrasound imaging, MRI and CT scan imaging.
How is hydrocephalus treated?
Treating hydrocephalus is crucial because the cerebrospinal fluid plays a very important role in the brain’s ability to properly function. The most common treatment option includes surgically inserting a shunt in order to drain any excess fluids from the brain. Another surgical option is endoscopic third ventriculostomy, which requires a neurosurgeon to make a hole in or between the ventricles so excess fluids can drain out of the brain.
The outlook for someone who has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus is dependent on the extent of the signs and symptoms they are experiencing. It may be necessary for those diagnosed to work with additional professionals in order to recover, which may include an occupational therapist, a mental health provider and developmental therapists.
Need more information on hydrocephalus?
If you want to learn more about hydrocephalus, we invite you to contact our office today in order to schedule a consultation appointment so that any questions you may have about this serious condition can be answered and you can learn more about the treatment options available today.
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