Fluid on the brain (hydrocephalus) can be detected via a long laundry list of signs and symptoms, however, a diagnosis can only be made from a neurological exam, brain imaging tests, a general physical, and sharing of your signs and symptoms with a doctor. If you want to know if you have fluid on your brain, we encourage you to visit a doctor for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing Fluid on the Brain
Depending on your age, a neurologist will conduct a neurological exam wherein you will answer certain types of questions and perform some simple tasks. The physician’s goal is to determine how effectively your senses are functioning, as well as the condition of your muscles, and a general assessment of your movement.
Brain imaging will offer a literal picture of what is happening inside your head.
Types of Brain Imaging
These imaging tests are useful not only in diagnosing hydrocephalus, but also in determining the likely underlying cause of your condition. You may undergo any or all of several types of imaging.
Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
This scan is quick and painless. It produces cross-sectional images of your brain using a special type of X-ray technology. Children usually are given a mild sedative for this procedure, as it requires that the subject lie perfectly still. This type of scan is typically used only in the case of an emergency exam, as it exposes the subject to a bit of radiation. Also, the image is not quite as detailed as those from an MRI.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
This scan, too, requires that the subject lie very still. Rather than X-rays, an MRI scan uses a magnetic field and radio waves to generate cross-section pictures—or even 3D images—of your brain. With these images, your physician will be able to see the effects of excess cerebrospinal fluid, like enlarged ventricles, for example. Underlying causes of hydrocephalus can also be identified with an MRI. There are fast versions of these MRI scans that do not require sedation of a child subject.
These imaging tests are simple and are often used for infants. They may even be used while the baby is in utero during standard prenatal visits. The technology consists of high-frequency sound waves that produce images on a screen.
Symptoms That Might Prompt You to See a Doctor for Diagnosis
Although hydrocephalus can happen at any age, the condition is more common in infants and people over the age of 60. Symptoms differ, depending upon your age.
Signs and Symptoms in Infants
- An atypically large head
- Head grows rapidly in size
- Fontanel is bulging
- Lackluster growth
- Poor muscle tone
- Poor feeding
- Eyes fixed downward
Signs and Symptoms in Toddlers
- Urinary incontinence
- Unusually large head
- Double- or blurred vision
- Inferior physical coordination
- Appetite is lacking
- Balance is off
- Personality change
- Developmental delays
- School performance declines
- Trouble concentrating
- Impaired vision
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Memory problems
- Trouble walking
- Memory loss
- No bladder control
- Loss of reasoning skills
- Lack of coordination
- Poor balance
Be sure to take an infant or toddler to the doctor immediately if he or she seems unwilling to lay their head down or move his or her head, have seizures, have trouble breathing, exhibit a high-pitched cry, are vomiting recurrently for no apparent reason, or show problems with their feeding or sucking.
Causes of Hydrocephalus
Water on the brain happens when there is too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain ventricles. This can happen for several reasons. In some cases, albeit rarely, the body creates fluid faster than it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. More often, a disease may cause brain tissues to inflame. This inflammation interferes with the mechanisms that are meant to help blood vessels absorb the cerebrospinal fluid. Most commonly, however, is that the normal flow of fluid is being blocked. The obstruction might affect flow from the ventricles to the spaces around the brain or from one ventricle to another.
Risk Factors for Hydrocephalus
If a newborn suffers from hydrocephalus, it may be due to complications of premature birth, an infection in the uterus, or abnormal development of the central nervous system.
Across age groups, certain infections of the central nervous system might cause water on the brain. Also, any bleeding in the brain, like from a head injury or stroke, could cause the condition, as can tumors in the brain or spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
What to Do if Your Fluid on the Brain Was Caused by Negligence
Hydrocephalus can result from head injuries, perhaps caused by a car accident. The condition can also result from complications at childbirth. Whatever your situation, it could be that someone’s negligence lies at the root of your medical condition. If you know if you have fluid on your brain due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to recover damages.
Pintas & Mullins would like to review your case and explain your options for taking legal action to recover compensation for your injury. Call us today at (888) 808-5977 for a free case review and consultation.