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What is adult normal pressure hydrocephalus?

Adult normal pressure hydrocephalus is a mild, difficult-to-diagnose type of hydrocephalus, a condition commonly referred to as “water on the brain.” The condition causes an excess of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in cavities within the brain, called ventricles. The cause of normal pressure hydrocephalus is usually unknown.

Our approach

The Northwell Health Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery ensures the best neurological care for you and your family, including thorough neurological evaluations, the latest diagnostic technology and the most advanced treatment options.

Our team of specialists provides thorough neurological evaluations using the latest diagnostic technology to diagnose adult normal pressure hydrocephalus, including computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We work closely with numerous centers within the Northwell Health Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.

Related conditions

Symptoms of adult normal pressure hydrocephalus can often be mistaken for those of other brain disorders, including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes brain disorders overlap. It is estimated that 375,000 people with dementia in the United States may have adult normal pressure hydrocephalus.

Symptoms

With the additional CSF caused by adult normal pressure hydrocephalus, pressure builds within the brain causing a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms include difficulty walking, a decline in thinking skills and incontinence. When the CSF is only slightly above normal levels, the condition can be hard to detect and diagnose. Without treatment, symptoms may get worse over time. Early diagnosis and treatment may improve the chance of a good recovery.

Prognosis

After treatment, some people can recover almost completely and enjoy a great quality of life.

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