what is hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is the medical term for a condition that is commonly called “water on the brain.” It is a combination of the Greek word “hydro,” which means water and “cephalus” which means head. But the liquid involved in hydrocephalus is not really water at all, it is cerebrospinal fluid or CSF.

CSF looks like water, but it contains proteins, electrolytes, and nutrients that help keep your brain healthy. The most important purpose of CSF is to cushion your brain and spinal cord against injury. Your brain produces about 1 pint of CSF per day. It circulates through a network of tiny passageways in your brain, and ultimately into your blood stream where it is absorbed by your body.

Hydrocephalus occurs when the delicate balance of CSF production and absorption is disrupted and CSF builds up in the brain. This build-up of CSF causes the brain to swell, and for pressure to increase inside the skull, resulting in nerve damage.

Causes of Hydrocephalus

Types of Hydrocephalus

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Did You Know?

ventricle
one of four cavities found within the brain where CSF can be accessed