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Car accidents may cause cerebrospinal fluid leaks

Your brain, spinal cord and other parts of your central nervous system play an integral role in everything you do. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, you may not be able to work, raise your kids or participate in the hobbies you enjoy.

While concussions have received extensive coverage in the media in recent years, another type of accident-related traumatic brain injury may change your life forever. Sadly, you may develop a potentially life-threatening cerebrospinal fluid leak during or after a car accident.

What is cerebrospinal fluid?

Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear liquid that provides a cushion for your brain and spinal cord. Not only does this fluid offer some support, but it also delivers vital nutrients to your central nervous system. Consequently, to have good health, it is critical to have an adequate supply of cerebrospinal fluid.

Why does cerebrospinal fluid leak?

Like any other liquid, cerebrospinal fluid tends to flow freely. To keep the fluid in place, you have a delicate three-layer membrane. Both blunt-force trauma and rapid head movement may be enough to cause this membrane to rupture. If that happens, your cerebrospinal fluid may move into your nasal cavities or into your ears.

How does a cerebrospinal fluid leak affect you?

If you have a cerebrospinal fluid leak, your brain and spinal cord are vulnerable to sagging. They may also not receive the nutrients they need to remain healthy. Even worse, with a cerebrospinal fluid leak, you have a higher risk of developing a possibly deadly infection, such as meningitis.

Doctors often misdiagnose cerebrospinal fluid leaks as normal drainage or chronic headaches. Ultimately, you may need to be persistent to receive a proper diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.