Important Things People Need to Know about Brain Hemorrhage
Cerebral hemorrhage or intracranial hemorrhage is the medical terminology used for brain hemorrhage which refers to bleeding in the brain or the soft tissues surrounding it. There are different forms of cerebral hemorrhage which are classified as:
- Intracerebral Hemorrhage. This means that the bleeding is inside the brain. The prognosis or chance of recovery for patients with this condition depends on the size and location of the bleed.
- Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. In this form of cerebral bleeding, the ruptured blood vessel is located between the brain and the membranes covering the brain.
- Subdural Hemorrhage. The bleed in this type of cerebral hemorrhage is between the meninges or the brain’s covering.
- Epidural Hemorrhage. Here, the bleeding occurs between the covering of the brain or the meninges and the skull.
Brain hemorrhage may be due to risk factors and causes like:
- Head Injury or head trauma. This is the most common cause of cerebral hemorrhage among individuals younger than 50.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure. Extremely high blood pressure may cause small blood vessels to rupture and bleed; the most common site of bleeding, when a person is hypertensive is in the brain because the blood vessels in this organ are more fragile.
- Diabetes Mellitus is one common risk factor for patients to develop cerebral bleeding. When a patient has constant hyperglycemia, the blood thickens and becomes viscous, if this happens blood pressure will elevate and thereby causing hypertension which is, of course, one of the most common causes of brain hemorrhage.
- Aneurysms are weakened and swollen blood vessels; this is one of the major causes of most hemorrhagic stroke among the elderly patients because these blood vessels could rupture at any time and cause bleeding in the subarachnoid space.
- Arteriovenous Malformation or the AVM. This is actually considered as an anatomical congenital anomaly in the blood vessels inside and around the brain. This condition is also considered as a form of birth defects but can only be diagnosed when symptoms appear. When these blood vessels rupture, symptoms may abruptly appear, but the signs and symptoms may be diverse depending greatly on the size and area or location of the bleed.
- Amyloid Angiopathy or also known as Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy. This is a type of disorder developed when the amyloid deposits have accumulated inside the blood vessels supplying blood in the central nervous system.
- Hyperlipidemia. Elevated cholesterol levels may also cause hypertension making this condition a risk for cerebral hemorrhage. Cholesterol are deposited on the walls of blood vessels making the lumen smaller which disrupts blood circulation thereby increasing blood flow pressure on the arterial or venous walls; because of the elevated blood pressure, the arteries or veins may rupture causing brain hemorrhage.
These are only some of the most common risk factors and causes of brain hemorrhage that we should all be aware of to prevent this life-threatening condition. But, in case an individual is suspected to have brain hemorrhage because of these causes, emergency management is always the immediate action; patients with this condition should be rushed immediately to the nearest hospital for a much greater chance of recovery.
Here are the most significant warning signs and symptoms that should watch out for:
- Severe headache
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Sudden ocular pain and difficulty in seeing
- Sudden blurring of vision or diplopia
- Nape pain
- Drooping eyelids
- Generalized body malaise
- Cognitive impairment
- Behavioral changes
- Slurring of speech
- Pupillary dilatation
- Balance and body coordination problems
- Unresponsiveness or Coma
If you have observed that an individual is having some or all of these signs and symptoms, you should bring him/her to the nearest hospital because chances are, there is already bleeding in his/her brain and this condition requires urgent medical attention and treatment.
After having brought a patient to the emergency room because he/she is manifesting some or all of the signs and symptoms of cerebral hemorrhage, the next step is confirming the diagnosis of the medical condition to rule out other diseases and disorders like brain cancer as some of the warning signs may also be indicative of other serious medical conditions. Proper diagnostic procedures and evaluation should be done because the plan of treatment will be based on the findings and results. Some of the most effective means to diagnose cerebral bleeding is by using the following:
- Computerized Axial Tomography Scan (CT scan or CAT scan). This diagnostic tool will help confirm the diagnosis of cerebral hemorrhage through generating x-ray images to locate and evaluate the extent of the bleeding.
- Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI). This produces a much clearer image of the brain and other structures that might have been affected when a patient has cerebral bleeding.
- Lumbar tap or lumbar puncture. If there is a presence of blood in the cerebrospinal fluid then there is most likely bleeding in some parts of the brain.
After the doctors have confirmed the diagnosis that the individual is experiencing cerebral hemorrhage, these medical specialists should already plan the proper medical and surgical treatments for the patient.
Treatment Regimen for Cerebral Hemorrhage
- In severe cases, an emergency craniotomy is recommended to drain out the blood from a small surgical opening in the skull and this is performed by a Neurosurgeon.
- Vital signs, Neuro vital signs, and reflexes should be monitored and recorded at least every 15 to 30 minutes.
- Blood pressure stabilization, control of blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol levels are also very important.
- Proper oxygenation should always be maintained, and in some serious cases, the use of a ventilator is also required.
- Doctors will also be prescribing corticosteroids and diuretics to reduce the swelling of the brain tissues and to reduce the intracranial pressure.
- Anticonvulsants are also used in these medical conditions to prevent seizures.
- Physical and rehabilitative therapy is also advised after a patient has recovered from the fatal brain hemorrhage to somehow regain their muscle strength so that they may at least be able to perform activities of daily living and maybe even return to their usual activities.