Can Toxic Substances Like Asbestos Cause Hydrocephalus?

Almost one million people in the U.S. are affected by hydrocephalus. This condition has no known cure, and anyone at any age may develop it.

There are many possible causes of hydrocephalus, but is asbestos exposure one of those?

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral made up of flexible fibers, is known for its heat resistance, making this substance highly useful.

However, asbestos has carcinogenic effects, and prolonged exposure to such a mineral can cause mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the smooth lining that covers internal organs in the body.

The mesothelioma group site reported that approximately 3,000 new mesothelioma cases had been diagnosed. The only cause of such a disease stems from asbestos exposure.

But how about hydrocephalus? What are the signs and symptoms of asbestos exposure leading to cases of hydrocephalus? Are there treatments available to prevent, manage or even cure hydrocephalus caused by asbestos exposure? Who is more likely to get this disease, adults or children? How can one avoid getting this condition?

         This article focuses on establishing possible links between hydrocephalus and asbestos exposure. Read on to know about the symptoms of hydrocephalus and the carcinogenic effects of asbestos.

The Link Between Hydrocephalus and Asbestos

There is no direct link between hydrocephalus and asbestos exposure. However, asbestos may be connected to brain tumors or cancer, while hydrocephalus may result as a complication from brain tumors.

         The link is not apparent, but you must first understand what hydrocephalus is and its signs and symptoms. It would be best if you then learned the carcinogenic effects of asbestos and its link to diseases like brain cancers.

Hydrocephalus Causes and Symptoms

         Hydrocephalus is the fluid build-up in the brain. The brain and the spinal cord are immersed in a liquid called cerebrospinal fluid manufactured by the brain. The fluid goes through the ventricles of the nervous system and then drains back into the bloodstream.

         However, when the fluid does not drain properly, it will cause pressure in the brain and thus result in hydrocephalus.

There is no known cure for hydrocephalus except for surgery. Anyone at any age at any time can develop hydrocephalus, which is why it is vital to understand this condition for one to avoid it from happening.

         There are two main kinds of hydrocephalus, and both have different causes. 

Congenital hydrocephalus is a condition occurring since birth. Many factors, including hereditary, may cause it. The next type of hydrocephalus is the acquired one due to disease and problems that may affect the brain and spinal cord.

         Signs and symptoms associated with hydrocephalus are the following: Symptoms are categorized per age group. (Infants, toddlers, older children, adults, older people)

For infants

  • A significant head enlargement
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleepiness and drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eyes fixed downwards
  • Problems in muscle tone and size

         For toddlers and older children

  • Abnormally-sized head
  • Headache, blurred or double vision
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unstable balance
  • Irritability, poor coordination, change in personality
  • Poor appetite, loss of bladder control

         For adults

  • Headache and sluggishness
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Vision problems and decline in memory

         For older adults

  • Memory loss, progressive loss of reasoning and thinking skills
  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Loss of bladder control

Understanding the Carcinogenic Effect of Asbestos

Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral used extensively for construction materials such as roofing shingles, ceiling, and floor tiles, insulation, and even wire covering. However, the use of this substance slowly decreased because of the recent medical studies that link asbestos to cancer.

         Though asbestos mining in the U.S. is no longer a thing, the toxic mineral is still being exported from other countries to manufacture goods such as brake pads, clutch, and transmission gears. Asbestos exposure is a real threat, especially as more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with cancers linked to this toxic mineral.

         When asbestos fibers break, it shatters into microscopic particles that can get lodged in the lungs when inhaled. The danger is that you will likely not feel you’ve inhaled asbestos.

Also, you don’t need to have massive exposure to asbestos to have a negative effect., Any amount of asbestos that gets lodged in your body may be enough to cause mesothelioma, the cancer type linked to asbestos exposure.

There are three types of mesothelioma. It is categorized by what organ or location cancer appears:

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma happens when cancer occurs in the abdomen. It is the second common form of mesothelioma.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma happens when cancer occurs in the pericardium or the protective membrane that covers the heart. It makes up only 1% of all mesothelioma cases in the U.S.
  • Pleural mesothelioma happens when cancer occurs in the lungs. It is the most common form of mesothelioma.

         When cerebrospinal fluid drainage is blocked by tumors or cancer, there are instances where hydrocephalus occurs. Though no concrete data link asbestos to hydrocephalus, it can occur if cancer metastasizes into the spine or brain.

         Both hydrocephalus and mesothelioma have no known cure. People who develop these conditions must immediately consult their doctors to find the best way to manage the symptoms of these diseases.


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