Hydrocephalus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Hydrocephalus Causes

Hydrocephalus is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain, which causes the ventricles in the brain to enlarge. Hydrocephalus can be found in infants and adults and can often cause severe disability or even death if untreated. Common symptoms of hydrocephalus include headache, nausea, vomiting, double vision, lack of coordination, incontinence, and impaired cognitive ability.

Causes

There are several possible causes of hydrocephalus, including congenital disorders, tumors, head injury, stroke, infection, and meningitis. Symptoms can worsen if the condition is left untreated.

Diagnosis

A doctor can diagnose hydrocephalus using a physical examination, imaging tests, or a lumbar puncture. Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, can help visualize the ventricles and measure the amount of CSF present in the brain.

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Treatment Options

Treatment for hydrocephalus depends on the cause of the condition and the severity of the symptoms. Options include medications, shunt placement, and brain surgery. If the hydrocephalus is caused by a tumor, radiation and chemotherapy can also be used to help shrink the tumor and relieve pressure on the brain.

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Health Impact

The health impact of hydrocephalus can be serious, particularly if it is left untreated. Complications such as increased intracranial pressure, increased risk of infection, seizures, and developmental delays can occur. Immediate and ongoing treatment is essential in order to minimize the risk of long-term health complications.

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