Hydrocephalus Essay

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Hydrocephalus

Definition
A condition affiliated with excessive fluid in the brain.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The fluid in the brain (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) is formed in the brain. CSF usually circulates through parts of the brain, its covering, and the spinal canal, and is then absorbed into the circulatory system.
When the circulation or absorption of this fluid is blocked, or excessive fluid is produced, the volume of fluid in the brain becomes higher than normal. The accumulation of fluid puts pressure on the brain forcing it against the skull and damaging or destroying the tissues.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause of the obstruction to CSF circulation, the age at which the problem develops, and the extent
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Hydrocephalus most often occurs in children, but may also occur in adults and the elderly.
Prevention
Protect the head of an infant/child from injury by handling the child carefully. Prompt treatment of infections (such as meningitis) and other disorders associated with hydrocephalus may reduce the risk of developing the disorder.
Symptoms
EARLY SYMPTOMS, IN INFANTS
* enlargement of the head (see increased head circumference)
* bulging fontanelles (soft spots of the head) with or without enlargement of the head size
* sutures - separated

SYMPTOMS OF CONTINUED HYDROCEPHALUS
* irritability, poor temper control
* muscle spasticity (spasm

LATE SYMPTOMS
* decreased mental function
* delayed development
* decreased movement
* slow or restricted movement
* difficulty feeding
* lethargy, excessive sleepiness
* urinary incontinence (loss of control over bladder)
* brief, shrill, high-pitched cry
* slow growth (child 0-5 years)

IN OLDER INFANTS AND CHILDREN
Symptoms vary depending on the amount of damage caused by pressure in the brain. Symptoms may be similar to symptoms of progression of hydrocephalus in children, or may include the following or other symptoms:
* headache
* vomiting
* vision changes
* crossed eyes
* uncontrolled eye movements
* loss of coordination
* poor gait (walking pattern)
* mental aberrations (such as confusion or psychosis)

Signs and Tests
Tapping with the fingertips
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