To help raise the profile Hydrocephalus Awareness Week this week, we have produced a short but informative article:
What is Hydrocephalus?
How do you get Hydrocephalus?
What causes Hydrocephalus?
In the past, hydrocephalus was referred to as "water on the brain". However, the brain is not surrounded by water but by a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF has 3 important functions:
The brain constantly produces new CSF (about a pint a day), while old fluid is released from the brain and absorbed into the blood vessels. But if this process is interrupted, the amount of CSF can quickly build up, causing pressure in the brain.
What are the symptoms?
Different types of hydrocephalus can cause specific symptoms but generally, the most common symptoms of damage to the brain from hydrocephalus include:
Many babies born with hydrocephalus (congenital hydrocephalus) have permanent brain damage. This can cause several long-term complications, such as:
Can Hydrocephalus be treated?
Hydrocephalus is usually treated with surgery.
Babies who are born with hydrocephalus (congenital) and children or adults who develop it (acquired hydrocephalus) usually need prompt treatment to reduce the pressure on their brain.
If hydrocephalus is not treated, the increase in pressure will cause brain damage.
Both congenital and acquired hydrocephalus are treated with either shunt surgery or neuroendoscopy.
Help and support
If you have a child with hydrocephalus, or if you've been diagnosed with the condition yourself, you may find it helpful to speak to other people affected by hydrocephalus.
We have been proud to help raise awareness of one of the fantastic small charities listed on our website. Set up in 2018 to help children and their families who are affected by Hydrocephalus, Harry's Hat (Harry's HAT | Harry’s Hydrocephalus Awareness Trust (harrys-hat.org) are doing an incredible job of raising awareness, supporting/funding research and signposting families to appopriate advice, support and guidance. A huge thank you from all at Social Responsibility for the fantastic work done by Harry's Hat!
Shine, the spina bifida and hydrocephalus charity, can also provide you with the details of local support groups and organisations. Shine - Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus (shinecharity.org.uk)