Yesterday I told you how urgently important it is for you to make sure anyone diagnosed with either Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease be given a CT scan as part of the examination leading up to the patient’s diagnosis. Without a CT scan it is impossible to make sure the diagnosis of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s is correct.
Today I want to tell you all the wonderful benefits that can come from a diagnosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus instead of Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease. As a patient who has Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), I speak from experience!
NPH is not curable. You need to know that but it is TREATABLE! What do I mean by the previous statement? I mean that the patient will always have NPH but it can be treated and controlled and the patient can lead a happy, usually normal life, while living with NPH!
How does one treat NPH? Well, after a neurologist gives the patient a CT scan and diagnoses the patient with NPH, the patient is given a lumbar tap in which some fluid is drained from the patient’s spine to see if improvement is discerned and then he is sent to a brain surgeon. My insurance covered these costs. The brain surgeon determines if surgery is recommended. If so, he does a fairly simple procedure which takes about one and a half hours in the operating room.
A tube is inserted into the patient’s brain. The tube goes under the skin from the brain to the stomach. The excess water is removed from the brain and deposited into the stomach from which it is removed from the body as any other fluid in the stomach would be removed. Usually in roughly 24-36 hours the patient has regained his or her mental acuity and usually walking is greatly improved also. The patient can go in this short of a period from not recognizing family members to discussing cogently complicated discussion topics. It is an amazing process. It is the difference between watching an impaired brain to watching a normal brain. Now, of course, not all brains recover completely but many do! It is definitely worth doing! I pray your family member will have such a glorious recovery! Of course, the underlying condition remains–water in the brain– and the tube will have to remain in the patient’s brain the rest of his life but that is a small price to pay for getting rid of the agonizing symptoms of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Diseases!