NPH: The condition often mistaken for dementia – symptoms to spot


Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer; every year 67,000 people die from the condition. To put this in perspective West Ham’s home ground, the London Olympic Stadium, has a capacity of 60,000. Symptoms of dementia normally include memory loss, poor balance, and bladder issues. However, there is another condition known to cause similar symptoms.

Known as normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), it has similar symptoms of dementia.

These include:
• Memory loss
• Poor balance
• Bladder issues
• Mood changes
• Depression
• Falling
• Difficulty responding to questions
• Changes in the way a person walks.

As a result, patients with the condition are often mistaken for having dementia.

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NPH is caused by an abnormal build-up of water in the brain.

The condition normally affects the over-65s.

In response to this, a new clinic has been set up to help people with NPH.

Unlike dementia, known to be incurable, the effects of NPH can be reversed.


Alex Joannides of Addenbrooke’s said the symptoms are more common as people age.

They added: “The challenge for us is to treat sooner.

“The sooner you treat – the better the outcome.”

Speaking about the shunt procedure he added: “Eight or nine out of 10 will benefit from this procedure. For some people who benefit this is transformational and it significantly improves their quality of life.”

The new clinic is part of the Reversible Dementia Project.

It forms part of a collaboration between the UK and France and is being led by the University of Cambridge.

The aim of the project is to “provide more in-dept assessment to help offer tailored care and support to patients with NPH alongside their clinical treatment”.

More information about other diseases affecting the brain is available on the NHS website.



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