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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:24 AM   #1
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Finally testing for NPH

Hello everyone,
I wanted you to know, especially those who were so helpful my friend is in the hospital & this time she will be checked for NPH. Thank god. I told the doctors that she could not go on like this. In & out of the hospital every few months & risking her safety with falls. She will be getting a spinal tap today, due to her pace maker no MRi. I am relieved. If NPH is found, then the shunt will be used.
Her Nuerologist called me & said she was unsure of some of her symptoms & was going to look it up to see if it fit NPH & she found indeed they did. According to the doctor her bladder control, balance & memory are all effected by the NPH. I am now wondering if she has Alz.
Thus far the doctors are almost sure she does have NPH & should know more after this test. Does anyone know of the chances that she would have both Alz. & NPH? This can be confusing. This time her balance is really bad, to the point where she could not even walk on her own. Although I am relieved that she is finally being tested I am now left to wonder how long this has been going on & how much damage could this have caused. Once again I appreciate any input you care to share. God bless, Sammy

 
Old 03-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #2
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Re: Finally testing for NPH

Your post brought a smile to my face Sammy. At least your friend is getting the chance of hope. Please let us know the results of the testing

Yes, she can have both. But NPH also mimics ALZ so it could be the NPH that is causing the dementia symptoms you see. If it is NPH and the shunt is implanted, you should see improvements. The degree of the improvements will depend on how early they caught it and on her response to the shunt.

Yes, it is confusing. You will only know the level of improvement when it happens. I was amazed at the improvement my friend's step father showed when he got his shunt... especially in his ability to ambulate. His cognitive ability did improve but not back to his "normal". Since then he has declined but it appears that he has Vascular Dementia like Dad. He has been through the same heart bypass, stint, heart med routine as Dad. When blood is not flowing in the heart and legs then it is probably not flowing in the brain either. So that would explain the recent decline. Yet, he is still better than he was before the shunt for NPH was implanted.

This is one of those situations that you can't get clear cut answers until it happens. Just know that if NPH is the problem... there will be some improvement with the shunt!! I hope it is major improvements!!

I am saying a prayer for her today and hope it goes well for her.

Love, deb

 
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:02 AM   #3
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Re: Finally testing for NPH

Thank you Deb. I have sat here going over everything I know & have been told about her from her family. I have a feeling this has been going on for along time. She was transmitted to the hospital again due to vomitting & weakness, she could not even get out of bed. The doctors were going to try to treat her for gastro problems & send her home. I really felt that was enough of beating around the bush. I pretty much came out & told the doctor she could not keep doing this & the risks of falling were to much, that we did not understand why noone was doing more at the time, since she was already in the hospital to find out about this NPH. I explained that I knew she would end up there & the family needed some answers. Her balance during this hopital stay declined.
We pretty much backed them into a corner & thank god her balance did not improve or they would have attempted to send her home. I just cant believe what it took to get this far. No matter how much we tried to explain her confusion was different when this kicks in vs her normal confusion they just did not get it. Now they do. This is her 3rd or 4rth time into the hospital not counting the ones for the falls, that is 2 more. I feel it should have been addressed before now. Seems that NPH causes more problems then any of us thought. The doctors said it would not cause all the symptoms leading up to her admission but now after researching it more her nuero. said that the NPH can cause her bladder problems & everything else. To bad noone took the time her last hospital stay. They were blaming alot of it on gastro problems, due to the vomitting & all this time she has went for test after test & for gastro. I feel so bad for her & cant help but be angry at the doctors on her behalf.
The spinal tap was done yesturday & they are keeping her for some PT due to her balance since she does not have 24hr care. Although this will be her third time with PT. I hope they do what has to be done ASAP so she can enjoy some of her life. It has been one thing after another for almost a year now. Thank you for explaining & I will keep you informed. God bless, Sammy

 
Old 03-07-2009, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Finally testing for NPH

Sammy-
I am so glad to see the neurologist finally listened and did some research but I want to caution you not to get your hopes too far "up". A complete reversal of symptoms, as Debbie wrote, is usually correlated with the speed that the diagnosis is made and the shunt inserted. The most difficult symptom to reverse is the dementia, far easier are the gait problems and the incontinence.
Bottom line - even if her recovery is not complete she will have some relief.

 
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