Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (cont.)
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Exams and Tests
The symptoms of NPH can occur in Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. However, the combination of dementia-like symptoms, walking problems, and urinary problems should alert your health care provider to the possibility of NPH. Making the distinction is very important because the treatments for these conditions are quite different. Tests are available that can confirm the diagnosis. At any point in this process, your health care provider may refer you to a specialist in brain disorders (neurologist or neurosurgeon) to complete the evaluation and begin treatment.
The evaluation begins with a medical interview. The interviewer will ask you questions about your symptoms and when they started, your medical and mental problems now and in the past, your family's medical problems, medications you have taken now and in the past, your work and travel experiences, and your habits and lifestyle. This is followed by a detailed physical examination to document your condition and rule out other disorders that might cause similar symptoms. The examination will probably include tests of your mental status, such as answering questions and following simple directions. Neuropsychological testing may be performed to document your dementia symptoms.
Neuropsychological testing is the most accurate method of pinpointing and documenting a person's cognitive problems and strengths.
There is no lab test that confirms the diagnosis of NPH. Any lab tests that are done are probably being done to rule out conditions that might cause similar symptoms.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): This procedure involves removal of CSF from the area around the spinal cord in the lower back.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/25/2014
Arif Dalvi, MD
Nestor Galvez-Jimenez, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Helmi L Lutsep, MD
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