There are several different hydrocephalus types. These include:
- Congenital hydrocephalus
- Acquired hydrocephalus
- Communicating hydrocephalus
- Non-communicating hydrocephalus
- Hydrocephalus ex-vacuo (caused by stroke or injury)
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus.
(Click Types of Hydrocephalus for more information.)
It is difficult to know how many people have hydrocephalus and how many are diagnosed with it each year. This condition is believed to affect approximately 1 in every 500 children. At present, most of these cases are diagnosed prenatally, at the time of delivery, or in early childhood.
Symptoms of hydrocephalus vary with age, disease progression, and individual tolerance to CSF.
In infancy, the most obvious sign of the condition is often a rapid increase in head circumference or an unusually large head size.
In older children and adults, symptoms may include headache followed by:
- Papilledema (swelling of the optic disk, which is part of the optic nerve)
- Downward deviation of the eyes (called "sunsetting")
- Problems with balance
- Poor coordination
- Gait disturbance
- Urinary incontinence
- Slowing or loss of development (in children)
- Other changes in personality or brain function, including memory loss.