Some people think that memory loss, difficulty finding words, walking problems, or urination problems are normal parts of aging. In many cases, however, these are symptoms of treatable conditions. Any of these problems, or changes in mood or behavior, warrants a visit to your health care provider.
An individual with NPH should always be under the care of a medical professional. Much of the day-to-day care, however, is handled by family caregivers. Medical care should focus on optimizing the individual's health, safety, and quality of life while helping family members cope with the many challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia and other symptoms of NPH.
The degree of care required by people with NPH varies considerably. Those who undergo successful shunt surgery may continue to live a normal or near-normal independent life. Others will experience worsening of their symptoms over time. Many of these individuals will eventually require close supervision and care. Your neurologist or neurosurgeon should discuss with you and your family what to expect as time goes on.
If you have NPH, you should have regular visits with your neurologist or neurosurgeon. These visits allow the doctor to monitor your symptoms. Changes in symptoms may require adjustments in care.
There is no known way to prevent NPH. A healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise, may help avoid conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke that might contribute to NPH. Wearing a seatbelt and safety helmet when indicated can help avoid head injury, another cause of NPH.
NPH is a progressive condition, meaning that the symptoms gradually worsen if not treated. In general, the outlook depends on the cause of the hydrocephalus and whether you are a candidate for surgery. Some people improve dramatically after surgery, while others do not. Some are not candidates for surgery. Those who are not candidates for surgery have few treatment options available.
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