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Hydrocephalus: symptoms, causes and prognosis

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

It is a brain disorder in which the cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord, is not drained correctly and begins to accumulate. This disease, in young children, causes the skull to be deformed and swollen, in older children in whom their bones are already more formed, it can cause severe headaches. The consequences of not treating hydrocephalus consist of the loss of brain capacities, injuries and even death, however an early diagnosis with its respective treatment will improve the prognosis. Although it is more common in children, there is a type of hydrocephalus called normotensive that can develop in adults and the elderly. At FastlyHealwe explain the symptoms, causes and prognosis of hydrocephalus .

Symptoms of hydrocephalus

There are several elements that influence the symptoms of hydrocephalus , age, why the cerebrospinal fluid does not fulfill its function, and the amount of brain damage that exists. In the case of babies, the head tends to deform because the bones of the skull are not yet attached to each other and their “band points” are dilated by the pressure exerted by excess fluid. On the other hand, there may be irritability, drowsiness, eyes turned downward, seizures, and vomiting.

In older children, symptoms can include: loss of coordination and trouble walking, slow growth, headache, repetitive eye movements, urinary incontinence, short, high-pitched crying, and changes in facial appearance. In very advanced cases of the disease, loss of memory and previously learned skills and personality changes can occur.

Causes of her hydrocephalus

The hydrocephalus can be started from the baby in the womb. The cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the cerebral ventricles distributing nutrients and removing waste from areas that may be sensitive, until it reaches the blood and is absorbed by it. If an obstruction occurs, it is impossible to complete this distribution and that is when fluid begins to accumulate in the brain.

The causes of hydrocephalus can be related to several factors:

  • Infections during pregnancy .
  • Congenital defects.
  • Infections that affect the central nervous system such as meningitis or encephalitis.
  • Injuries before or during childbirth.
  • Trauma
  • Intracerebral bleeding, especially in premature children or those with head injuries.
  • Tumors in the nervous system, including the spinal cord.

Prognosis of hydrocephalus

Six out of ten people with hydrocephalus die , if it is not treated, those who survive may suffer from some physical, neurological and intellectual disability. As in other diseases, the prognosis of hydrocephalus will depend on the cause, there are better chances if the disease is not due to an infection.

The diagnosis of hydrocephalus is made through magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound or computed tomography to have a complete image of the brain, in addition, some reflex exams and repetitive measurements of the head circumference will be done, which can become larger over time.

In the case of treatment for hydrocephalus , an attempt will be made to perform a surgery to eliminate the existing obstruction, if the bypass is not possible, it will be the most viable, what is done is to place a probe inside the brain so that the cerebrospinal fluid be redirected to a place in the body where it can be absorbed. If the shunt also becomes blocked, surgery will be done, but this can have serious risks during the shunt.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hydrocephalus: symptoms, causes and prognosis , we recommend that you enter our Brain and Nerves category .

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