ZocdocAnswersHow will cerebral atrophy and ventriculomegaly affect my wife?

Question

How will cerebral atrophy and ventriculomegaly affect my wife?

My wife was recently diagnosed with cerebral atrophy and ventriculomegaly. We're both in our 70s now, but I wanted to know what I can do to help her.

Answer

As the brain ages, there does tend to be loss of some of the brain's volume over time. This can lead to what is known as age-related cerebral atrophy, with a corresponding increase in size of the ventricles. This may be all that is going on in your wife's case and, if she is asymptomatic, this may not require anything more than regular followup with your primary care doctor or your geriatrician. In other words, there are many elderly people who have findings like this but lead completely normal lives. On the other hand, if your wife has neurological symptoms, such as trouble with memory or performing daily functions, then this might be a stronger indication that her cerebral atrophy is affecting her. In this case, once again, the first step would be to discuss the results with her primary care doctor to decide what to do. There are many different medical problems that can accelerate these degenerative changes in the brain, such as frequent strokes, and the treatment plan might focus primarily on controlling these other medical issues. If there is any evidence of early dementia or other cognitive impairment, than medications directed at that problem might be appropriate.

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