Ventricles are chambers in the brain that normally contain fluid
called cerebrospinal fluid. Usually these chambers contain just the
right amount of the fluid for normal brain function. Sometimes,
however, too much fluid can build up in the ventricles. This
accumulation of fluid leads to a condition called normal pressure
When excess fluid builds up, the ventricles enlarge and press
against nearby brain tissue. This extra fluid can affect the shape of
the brain and lead to brain damage. Normal pressure hydrocephalus,
though rare, most often affects older adults, and its symptoms
can be similar to those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. A
doctor familiar with these conditions can often tell the difference
between these diseases and normal pressure hydrocephalus after special
testing. NPH may account for 5 percent of dementia cases in the United States.
Facts about the disease
Normal pressure hydrocephalus can be caused by a number of
underlying conditions, including brain infections, bleeding in the
brain, tumors, and injuries. It can also occur for no clear reason.
Symptoms, such as difficulty walking, urinary incontinence and
cognitive changes, may be experienced.