Posted on March 12th, 2021
There are currently 700,000 people in the United States who struggle with normal pressure hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder that causes thinking and reasoning problems and difficulty walking. However, in people with a history of paraquat exposure, Parkinson's disease may be mistaken for normal pressure hydrocephalus.
As a brain disorder, normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the ventricles of the brain. It typically affects people over the age of 60. While in the majority of cases, the cause of the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain is unknown, some people with normal pressure hydrocephalus develop this condition as a result of a tumor, head injury, hemorrhage, infection or inflammation. It is essential to know that people with a history of paraquat exposure who suffer from Parkinson's disease may initially receive this wrong diagnosis, which is why they need to seek a second and a third opinion from different medical experts. The following are the most common symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus, which are very similar to those of Parkinson's disease:
Because the symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus resemble those of Parkinson's disease, it should come as no surprise that misdiagnosis is a frequent occurrence. Thereby, if you have a family member with paraquat exposure that experiences the above symptoms, you should encourage them to visit multiple specialists in order to receive a correct and precise diagnosis, as most people who were exposed to this herbicide develop Parkinson's disease. If they receive this diagnosis, they become eligible for compensation from the responsible paraquat manufacturers.
Oftentimes, the start hesitation and freezing episodes that occur with normal pressure hydrocephalus bear a great similarity to the gait of people with Parkinson's disease. Nevertheless, individuals with Parkinson's disease experience rigidity and unilateral rest tremor, symptoms that are not present in those with normal pressure hydrocephalus. Moreover, in patients with Parkinson's disease, there is a normal response to L-Dopa, the amino acid that is released and used as part of the normal biology of humans, which does not apply for people with normal pressure hydrocephalus.
Lastly, it is essential for medical professionals to conduct a brain test in order to determine whether there is excess cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain, which is the telltale sign of normal pressure hydrocephalus. This sign is not present in people with Parkinson's disease, which should make assigning a correct diagnosis easier for medical specialists. It is important to know that up to 30% of people with Parkinson's disease initially receive a wrong diagnosis, which is why it is so important for them to visit more than one medical expert.