Maybe You Don't Have Alzheimer's After All
"And I was a young 65, believe it or not," says Jeanne Folmer. Retired from real estate and sales, she kept busy playing golf, antiquing and dating.
But things were going downhill. Fast.
Sometimes she couldn't find the words she wanted to say. And she kept falling down.
She didn't sound the alarms to her four grown kids, telling them she was just getting klutzy.
Her kids weren't fooled, though.
Conversations became guessing games. Jeanne might call her daughter and say: "Can you bring over ... um, um, um." And her daughter would throw words out, trying to guess what she wanted.
It wasn't until after more than a year of falling down that Jeanne finally made an appointment to find out what was going on.
The doctors did an MRI. It showed she had enlarged ventricles in her brain. That can mean Alzheimer's. It can also mean that the brain is simply getting old. Or it can mean she had some other condition. One of those other conditions is normal pressure hydrocephalus, commonly called NPH, or water on the brain.
There are three hallmarks of NPH. The first to surface is imbalance. People with NPH are less steady on their feet, fall a lot and sometimes shuffle when they walk. The second symptom is urinary incontinence. And the third is dementia or memory problems.