Brain haemorrhage implies bleeding in the brain. It is alternately known as intracranial haemorrhage and calls for immediate treatment.
The brain is surrounded by the skull. When haemorrhage results in leaking of blood from the brain, it may lead to compression or damage to brain tissues. In such cases, the individual is at risk of cerebral edema or haemorrhagic stroke.
Across variable age groups, the effects of brain haemorrhage vary. Seniors are more vulnerable to the occurrence of a brain haemorrhage. Brain haemorrhage sometimes suddenly occurs in children, primarily due to blood vessel anomalies.
Causes and risk factors
Among the prime causes leading to brain haemorrhage are:
- injury or head trauma
- cerebral aneurysm, which is a weakened bulge of a brain artery
- High BP
- Anomalies in blood vessels
- Bleeding disorders
- Brain tumours
- Liver conditions
- Consuming illicit drugs
Risk factors for brain haemorrhage are cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, hypertension, low triglycerides, decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and drugs such as anticoagulants. Men are more vulnerable to the condition as compared to women.
Symptoms of brain haemorrhage are varied. They include sudden numbness, weakness, or tingling. Similarly, paralysis of legs, arms or face are also symptoms of a brain haemorrhage.
Other most common symptoms of brain haemorrhage are:
- Severe or a sudden headache
- Swallowing becomes difficult
- Vision-related difficulties
- Coordination or balance is affected
- Slurred speech
- Lethargy or unconsciousness
Recognizing the symptoms quicker allows a healthcare professional to act upon them quickly.
Diagnosis of brain haemorrhage is difficult because there are cases wherein people do not have any physical symptoms. In such cases, doctors are required to do tests to figure out the exact location of bleeding in the brain.
The tests frequently used for the purpose are:
- MRI or CT scan
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture, wherein a doctor uses a hollow needle to remove the spinal fluid for testing.
- In cerebral angiography, a doctor injects a dye and then takes X-ray images for the brain. The dye highlights the blood vessels that are shaped abnormally in the images.
Severe cases of brain haemorrhage may call for surgery. Surgeons may be required to operate to relieve some pressure over the brain.
If the underlying cause of a brain haemorrhage is a burst cerebral aneurysm, a surgeon might remove a section of the skull and clip the artery. The procedure is known as a craniotomy.
The options for the treatment of brain haemorrhage are medications including anti-anxiety drugs and anti-epileptic drugs. Similarly, medications may be administered to bring symptoms such as severe headaches and seizures under control.
Recovery from a brain haemorrhage is possible, and a timely administration of a requisite treatment is important in this regard.
Following a brain haemorrhage, rehabilitation helps an individual adjust to life.
Survivors – precautions
Brain haemorrhage is a life-threatening condition. A vast percentage of casualties occur within the first two days. Recovery is slow for many people. A few people recover completely within 30 days.
Something as simple as wearing a bicycle helmet can help prevent a traumatic brain injury. Using seat belts is another important precaution that people should take.
An individual who has suffered from a brain haemorrhage is more vulnerable to suffering from another. It becomes even more important for them to take precautions.
Avoiding smoking, getting the right kind of a diet and exercise, and closely monitoring blood pressure and diabetes are some important ways of preventing brain haemorrhage. One should also try and safeguard oneself against excess body weight.