Everything You Need To Know About Hydrocephalus

People tend to go through emotional transformation once they become parents. The meek find their voice. The cold-hearted turns into a softie. The unattached feels their heart anchored to a tiny human being.

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If there is one thing that all parents fear the most, though, it’s seeing their baby suffer from a severe condition. That’s why most mothers get regular checkups and ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy. That’s why infants go through newborn screening right after birth. The goal is to detect illnesses that might hinder their normal growth and development.

However, no matter how much cautious you are, sometimes life deals you a different deck of cards. It typically happens when your kid’s test results say that he or she is perfectly healthy, but abnormalities begin to show a few months later. This situation can often be seen in kids with hydrocephalus, a common brain condition that appears in a 1:1000 ratio.


Hydrocephalus Definition

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Hydrocephaly is a neurological disorder, which means “water on the brain” in the literal sense. Figuratively speaking, this so-called water is the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that serves as a shock absorber for both the spinal cord and the brain. Due to the imbalance, the tissues forming the latter may receive too much pressure from the liquid and prevent the individual from leading a healthy life.



A usual telltale sign that someone has hydrocephalus is the swelling of the patient’s head. It occurs because the excess CSF accumulates in the ventricles of the central nervous system, thus engorging the brain and stopping it from developing normally. Some of the other hydrocephalic symptoms include seizures, droopy eyes, lack of muscle strength and coordination, and extreme sleepiness.


Forms Of Hydrocephalus

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The condition comes in various types. The first one is congenital form, which the doctors can detect since childbirth. As mentioned above, a kid can also obtain the disease after some time, which earns it the term “acquired hydrocephalus.” When a person contracts this illness during senior adulthood, it is proper to call the condition as normal pressure hydrocephaly.

The ailment, moreover, can either be a communicating or non-communicating hydrocephalus. The doctors call the disorder communicating hydrocephalus when the cerebrospinal fluid gets stuck after leaving the ventricles. It is possible for the brain water to move at this point, though, because the ventricular system does not have blockages.

In case there is a certainty that the ventricles have become blocked entirely, that is the time when you can call it a non-communicating or obstructive hydrocephalus.


Hydrocephalus In Adults

Fluid on the brain may be more common in children, yet it does not entail that no adults are living with this condition as well. According to the statistics released by the Hydrocephalus Association, there are approximately 700,000 individuals in the United States who carry the illness. No less than 80 percent of them, however, end up not knowing that they have hydrocephalus due to failure to diagnose it early.



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You can find a limited number of studies and procedures concentrated on the disease. The result is that every hydrocephalic person, either a child or a diagnosed adult, need to receive surgery to remove the water on the brain. Quite often, since it remains incurable, going under the knife once does not suffice to get rid of the problem altogether.



Hydrocephalus is a physically, emotionally, and mentally devastating disease. It can affect people of all ages or from diverse walks of life, but the fact that it is more common in innocent babies is most unfortunate. Hopefully, the federal and private organizations will be able to pay attention to expanding the research investigations for it so that nobody has to live with this illness forever again.

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