If you just aren’t feeling like yourself lately due to issues such as reduced mental function, sluggishness, balance problems, and headaches, there’s a chance you’re dealing with hydrocephalus.
While it most often starts at birth, hydrocephalus can also develop later on due to a head injury, tumor, hemorrhage, or meningitis.
Our experienced neurology experts at Michigan Neurology Associates in metro Detroit provide care, diagnostics, and management for neurological conditions such as hydrocephalus. In this blog post, we explore the basics of this condition, including five common signs in adults.
When you have hydrocephalus, it means that fluid has built up in the cavities deep within your brain known as ventricles. As a result, your ventricles expand in size and place pressure on your brain.
Among adults, hydrocephalus is most common from age 60 on. The exact cause of hydrocephalus isn’t known, but there seems to be a genetic factor.
Hydrocephalus symptoms in adults
While hydrocephalus affects people differently, it presents five common signs in adults, including:
- Decreased cognition, such as memory problems
- Frequent headaches
- Reduced balance or coordination, or a shuffling gait
- Vision impairments
These symptoms are quite different from hydrocephalus signs in infants, such as increased head size, vomiting, and seizures. And in all cases, hydrocephalus is progressive, meaning it worsens over time without treatment.
Because signs during adulthood can be mistaken for a range of other conditions, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment is especially important. When memory problems go on for too long without treatment, you may not fully regain your memory.
Milder symptoms addressed early tend not to lead to complications.
Hydrocephalus treatment for adults
At Michigan Neurology Associates, if we suspect that you have hydrocephalus, we’ll conduct a physical exam and complete brain imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. Once you’ve been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, treatment typically involves the insertion of a shunt to drain excess fluid from your brain and relieve pressure.
After the shunt is placed, we carefully monitor your brain health and levels of pressure to make sure your shunt is doing its job. Most likely, you’ll need a shunt system in place indefinitely to keep your symptoms at bay.
Less commonly, treatment involves an endoscopic surgery in which a surgeon makes a hole in one of the ventricles or between ventricles in your brain to allow excess fluid to flow out.
Learn more about hydrocephalus or get the care you need at one of our locations in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, or Utica, Michigan. Reach out to us at Michigan Neurology Associates today.