The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) tend to affect older people and usually develop slowly, over many months or years. Because they can be similar to those of other common age-related problems, the condition can be misdiagnosed.
One of the pathologies NPH is often confused with is dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. For this reason, a brain scan should be requested.
NPH has three sets of distinctive symptoms which are sometimes referred to as the TRIAD. These affect walking, cognitive ability, and continence.
Usually, the first noticeable symptom is a change in your gait. It can become increasingly difficult to take the first step when you start walking.
People feel frozen to the spot and may shuffle instead of taking proper steps. They can become increasingly unsteady and prone to fall when walking and/or turning.
The normal thinking process begins to slow down. A person may be slow to respond to questions, react slowly to new situations, and be generally slow to process information.
Walking problems are often followed by bouts of urinary incontinence. These may include symptoms such as a frequent or urgent need to pass water and a loss of bladder control.