Brain haemorrhage is a form of stroke and happens when there is localized bleeding in the brain due to the bursting of an artery. This can happen in all the surrounding tissues of the brain. This action can lead to killing brain cells. Hemo means blood in Latin, and haemorrhage means bursting of the forth of the blood. Brain haemorrhage is the reason for stroke in 13% of the cases. The brain tissues are irritated by the trauma. This is called as cerebral edema in medical terms. When the pool of blood is collected in the brain it is called hematoma. The pressure on the brain and the surrounding tissues are increased to a great extent due to this condition. So, the flow of blood, which is significant for the brain cells is hampered, resulting in the death of the brain cells.
The bleeding can occur anywhere and everywhere in and around the brain. It can happen in the membranes that cover the brain, or the layers of the brain. The layer that covers the skull can also be the area where the haemorrhage can occur.
Bleeding in the brain can be classified based on the location of the bleeding.
- Intracerebral haemorrhage: When the bleeding happens inside the brain, it is called intracerebral bleeding
- Subarachnoid haemorrhage: When the bleeding happens in between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain
- Subdural haemorrhage: When the bleeding happens under the layer of the dura present above the brain
- Epidural haemorrhage: When the bleeding occurs between the skull and the brain.
The symptoms of the brain haemorrhage are several. They can differ in each individual. The symptoms can vary based on the severity of the disease, the location of the bleeding, and the tissues that are damaged. The symptoms can worsen at any point in time. The worst part is that the symptoms can disappear all of a sudden, and can come back at any point in time. The patient might think of it as a problem that can be tackled with simple medications.
- A sudden and severe headache. This can be because of the bleeding and the bursting of the arteries. The headache is not something one can tolerate. This is a life-threatening condition and cannot be tackled unless one rushes to the emergency room.
- Changes in the vision. Any problem with the brain cells can affect the vision because the complete control lays with the brain and the nervous system. The nerves could be damaged and can lead to a serious condition
- Nausea or vomiting. This can be associated with several conditions. So, when the symptom accompanies with a severe headache or vision troubles, it is high time to check with a doctor.
- Tingling, numbness, and pain in the arms and legs. These symptoms are the clues that the nerves have lost control over the body parts because the blood supply is not adequate. The tingling and numbness, when the patient does not suffer from diabetes, is a sure shot way to analyze any severe complication.
- Lethargy is one of the symptoms that many patients fail to connect with the brain haemorrhage. Decreased flow of blood to the brain cells can make one very lethargic.
- Difficulty in understanding or speaking can occur. As known, the brain controls too much of things, and with slurry speech, one can connect it to the brain haemorrhage or stroke with ease. There can also be difficulty in reading and writing associated.
- Eating problems akin to difficulty in swallowing the food too can occur.
- Coordination problems too occur. For instance, the patient might not be able to use a pen properly to write.
- Hand tremors are clear indications of a brain haemorrhage. Unlike other problems, hand tremors clearly show that there is a fault close to the brain. Brain haemorrhage or stroke are the problems that often unveil themselves with hand tremors.
- Lack of taste and consciousness are also the symptoms of brain seepage. Loss of balance can also happen.
- Seizures with no history of them are also the symptoms of bleeding in the brain.
A brain haemorrhage can happen due to several reasons. A few common causes are listed here:
- Head trauma: Injury that affects the brain is the reason for the brain haemorrhage in people who are less than 50 years of age.
- Aneurysm: The blood vessel can weaken in any part of the body. When it happens in the brain, the walls of the vessels are weakened, inflamed and swell. Over a period of time, this can eventually burst, resulting in a brain haemorrhage. This can also result in a stroke.
- Amyloid angiopathy: When the walls of the blood age, there can be a few abnormalities developing as a result. This can also happen when the blood pressure surges. As a result, bleeding can happen in small quantities, and this cannot be realized. Over a period of time, again this can lead to severe bleeding when not diagnosed properly earlier.
- High blood pressure: The blood vessels can be weakened, when the blood pressure is high and chronic. Hence it is essential to manage the blood pressure with proper medications on time. This is one of the areas where blood pressure can be prevented. Treating blood pressure on time is mandatory to prevent the onset of various other diseases too.
- Bleeding disorders: Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder, where bleeding never stops, because of the lack of clotting. Deficiency of Vitamin K is one of the reasons for this condition. Sickle cell anaemia too can result in bleeding inside the brain. Both these conditions can lead to the blood platelets being decreased.
- Liver disease: The internal bleeding is triggered when the liver does not function properly due to various diseases and disorders.
- Brain tumours: the cancerous growth in the brain cells is called brain tumors. The exact reasons and causes for these tumours are never known. The age is a risk factor, and when radiation to the head is higher, then chances of getting brain tumours are higher. Due to a tumour, the chances of getting the cells killed and the bursting of blood cells happen.
Most of the times the brain haemorrhages do not require medical intervention and go off. No treatment is required. When the patient has symptoms that unveil the existence of brain haemorrhages due to brain injury, the CT or computerized tomography is taken. This imaging test helps in producing the 3-dimensional picture of the internal organs.
A magnetic resonance indicator or MRI is also prescribed. These imaging tests show the clear picture of the brain structure. When the diagnosis proves the existence of brain haemorrhages, many CT scans and MRIs may be on the cards. The repeated tests mean that the doctor wants to analyze the severity and the location of the bleeding to go about the right treatment.
Radiology test is also required in most of the cases to diagnose the brain haemorrhage. There can be a range of tests that are recommended to get to know more about the bleeding and its complications. The tests to find the abnormal blood vessels are also present.
Additionally, the tests to check diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol are also recommended. This is because the treatment varies based on the individual’s body condition.
Lumbar puncture is also involved in a few cases, to find out about the complications of bleeding in the brain. This procedure is also called a spinal tap. But this may not be necessary for all. This procedure involves removing the spinal fluids for diagnostic purposes.
An eye exam is also conducted to find out if the nervous system that controls that eyes are affected.
The treatment of the brain haemorrhage depends purely on the part of the brain that is affected. As aforementioned, a wide range of tests are done, which include the CT scan, MRI scan, are done to find the bleeding in the brain. The location and cause for the bleeding can determine the treatment techniques. The treatment includes the prescription of medicines.
Most of the times, the surgery is required when the condition is severe. This is done to remove the pressure off the brain. If the brain haemorrhage is due to the condition called aneurysm, the artery is clipped to prevent the inflammation and to stop further weakening. This procedure is called craniotomy.
The treatment begins with close monitoring of the patients. Stabilizing the blood pressure is the first thing the doctor aims at. This is because usually, high blood pressure can lead to the brain haemorrhage. A ventilator or the machine to assist the process of breathing is used. This helps in supplying adequate oxygen to the brain. The other organs also get enough oxygen.
Medicines that control swelling are also prescribed. The painkillers are also given to alleviate pain and the other symptoms. Diuretics are also prescribed to reduce swelling. The seizures are also brought down with the anticonvulsants. Laxatives are also prescribed to ease the bowel movements. The medicines that are usually prescribed include:
- nimodipine (branded as Nymalize) to prevent artery spasms
- medicines to control blood pressure
- phenytoin (Dilantin or Phenytek) or other medications to prevent or treat seizures
The treatment can help in survival and recovery based on various factors. The age of the patient who is getting treated determines the success of the treatment. The severity of the bleeding and the location do matter. A few patients recover faster and easier, and a few suffer from the side effects of the surgery and medication.
Brain haemorrhage is often caused due to injury in the age group of young people. Avoiding the traumatic injury is what has to be done in the first place. Even children who end up with a head injury can be affected by a brain haemorrhage. The full developmental potential cannot be achieved when there is an injury to the brain that can result in bleeding in the brain and the surrounding tissues.
- Avoid diving in water spaces that are less than 12feet in depth
- The helmet is mandatory while riding bikes, and during adventure sports like bungee jumping
- Rugs can be used to prevent falls
- The seat belt should be worn while driving a car, and even for the co-drivers.
- 80% of the cerebral damage is caused due to the high blood pressure levels. When the patient has a history of high blood pressure, doctors usually stress on the point to reduce it. It can be done with medications prescribed by a doctor, exercises and proper diet.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can lead to high blood pressure, and this can also trigger aneurysm. A brain tumour too can be aggravated with the smoking or using of tobacco. Even passive smoking can cause the same effects.
- Bleeding in the brain can also be aggravated or caused by the using drugs like cocaine
- Corrective surgeries may be required, when suffering from various complications like aneurysm. These conditions when left unattended can lead to a brain haemorrhage.
- Coumadin and warfarin are drugs that should be taken only with the prescription of a doctor. These are done to check if the blood levels are right in the body.
The complications of brain haemorrhage can be numerous. The affected many a times do not understand the symptoms. When left untreated, the patient can end up losing skills that are basic. Even writing, reading, speaking and hearing loss can happen. The complications of the treatment include various side effects. The patient after treatment can find ache in the head, and getting back to the normal life can be cumbersome.
It is essential to medical intervention and advice at the earliest to ensure faster recovery. It is also crucial to check about the injury that occurs on the head, and through various diagnostic methods ensure that there is no bleeding occurs.