A brain haemorrhage, also known as a brain bleed or an intracranial haemorrhage, refers to bleeding in the brain. It is a type of stroke that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts and causes bleeding. Brain haemorrhages also account for 13% of all strokes reported.
When there’s blood leaking in the brain, compression occurs against the skull depriving the brain of much-needed oxygen. Pooled blood can also collect and clot into a mass called hematoma which causes pressure on the brain and deprives it of oxygen.
A brain haemorrhage requires immediate attention since the brain is a delicate organ that controls our entire body and any kind of damage can lead to permanent disabilities or even death. If you think someone is having one, it’s important to take them to the hospital immediately.
There are several types of brain haemorrhages. The type depends on the location of the bleeding. However, all types are life-threatening and pose serious health risks. They include:
- Intracerebral haemorrhage: This develops inside the brain and is the second most common cause of strokes. It usually develops due to long untreated high blood pressure.
- Subdural haemorrhage: This develops below the inner layer of the dura and above the brain. In acute cases, it happens due to head trauma from a fall, an accident or sports related. The type of haemorrhage develops fast and is like to a high death risk. In chronic cases, it’s not as deadly and happens over time due to mental diseases that cause brain shrinkage such as dementia or blood thinning medication.
- Subarachnoid haemorrhage: This develops between the brain and the membranes that cover it. It usually happens due to a brain aneurysm.
- Epidural haemorrhage: This develops between the skull and the brain. It usually happens due to an injury such as a skull fracture.
As mentioned, the brain is a delicate organ. Due to its delicate nature, it is surrounded by the skull to protect it from damage. This makes bleeding of a blood vessel in the brain uncommon. If it happens, there’s usually a contributing factor such as:
Head Trauma: This is probably the most known cause of a brain haemorrhage. It results from a violent blow or jolt to the head such as a fall, an accident, an assault or a sports injury. When it happens, the blood vessels are torn causing bleeding in the brain that can result in long-term complications or death.
Ruptured Aneurysm: An aneurysm is the ballooning of a blood vessel due to weakness in the walls of the vessels. This aneurysm can rupture or leak due to the pressure leading to a brain haemorrhage. This type of haemorrhage usually leads to death in 20% to 50% of cases.
Brain Tumour: Brain tumours, whether malignant or benign, are quite dangerous. They create extra pressure on the brain and blood vessels which can make them thin and break. However, benign tumours are less life-threatening since they grow slowly and don’t spread.
High Blood Pressure: Untreated high blood pressure weakens the blood vessels causing a potential risk of brain haemorrhages. Despite its high risk, it’s one of the easiest to prevent and with proper medical care, you can avoid this kind of brain haemorrhage. Foods For Managing High Blood Pressure
Spontaneous Bleeding: Blood vessels bleed all the time but not the ones in the brain. This is caused by a rare abnormality called amyloid angiopathy that makes the vessels fragile and likely to bleed. In some cases, it causes many unnoticeable bleeds before the big one.
Drug Abuse: Drugs affect the normal functioning of the brain and when abused, they can have dire effects on our health. Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine are notorious blood thinners that weaken the blood vessels in the brain. What To Do If A Family Member Is Addicted To Drugs
Medications: Medicines that interfere with blood clotting are also culprits of causing brain haemorrhages. If they are prescribed, the doctor should let you know the risks are the exact dosage you should take.
Some brain haemorrhages happen fast while others happen gradually. Nonetheless, there are symptoms to look out for that could potentially save a person’s life. They include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Neck and back pain
- Severe and persistent headaches
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Loss of motor skills
- Behavioural changes
- Loss of consciousness
Once a patient is taken to the hospital, the doctor will conduct a CT scan or an MRI to determine whether they have a brain haemorrhage. Treatment depends on the location, cause and severity of the bleeding. Some may require surgery to reduce the swelling and prevent bleeding while others can be treated using medication.
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