Brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke which results due to bursting of an artery in the brain. Bleeding anywhere in the skull is called a brain hemorrhage or an ‘Intra Cranial Hemorrhage’ and means ‘blood bursting forth’. It is a serious medical condition as it causes blood build-up in the cranium or the skull that leads to increased pressure within the skull causing damage to the delicate brain tissues. A brain hemorrhage usually is a result of injuries to the brain or rupturing of an aneurysm.
Symptoms of a hemorrhage depend upon the area of the brain where bleeding is observed.
Severe headache: It is the most common symptom of a hemorrhage that occurs due to raised intracranial pressure.
Neck pain: If there is a bleed in subarachnoid space, neck pain accompanies the headache too.
Vomiting: Vomiting is also a symptom of a hemorrhage and is observed commonly.
Reduced vision: If the area of the brain that is responsible for vision is affected, the person may have problems with the vision.
Loss of coordination and balance: If an injury occurs to the area of the brain that is responsible motor functions, it might result in loss of coordination and balance.
Tingling and numbness: Another symptom of this disease is weakness on one side, numbness and tingling in the fingers. Tingling or numbness is also observed due to incorrect posture, vitamin B12 deficiency and many other causes.
Seizures: A sudden seizure is also a symptom. If there’s a sudden jolt to the lower part of the brain that causes bleeding in the lower brain, it might result in a coma.
Here are some of the common causes of brain haemorhage -
Hypertension: Dr Arjun Srivatsa, renowned neuro and spinal surgeon and founding trustee of Spine Trust India, mentions hypertension as the most common cause of brain Hemorrhage. Hypertension causes pressure build-up that might cause bleeding or rupturing of a blood vessel. Elevated blood pressure may cause the walls of the arteries to weaken and swell over time. If these weakened walls rupture, it may lead to accumulation of blood in the brain leading to a stroke.
Aneurysm: Another cause of a hemorrhage is an aneurysm. An aneurysm is the swelling in the wall of the artery which appears like a balloon filled with blood and increases the chances of the blood vessel rupturing that might lead to brain hemorrhage.
Head injury: They also result from head injuries which is another common cause of the disease.
Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM): They are another cause of a hemorrhage. They are abnormal connections between the arteries and veins and are congenital that is present from birth and may result in a hemorrhage later in life.
Depending upon the type where the bleed occurs, intracranial hemorrhage can be classified into various types like -
Cerebral hemorrhage: When the bleeding occurs in the brain itself it is called as cerebral hemorrhage and usually does not result from an injury.
Epidural hematoma: It is the accumulation of blood between the skull and the outermost layer of the brain usually results due to a head injury and build up of pressure. The person suffering from an epidural hematoma may lose consciousness for a while and then regain it.
Subdural hematoma: Collection of blood on the surface of the brain is called subdural hematoma. It is the trauma that results due to rapid movement of the head like that in a car accident.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage: When the bleeding occurs between the thin tissue of the brain and the brain itself it is called subarachnoid hemorrhage. It is a genetic disorder and is characterized by a sudden sharp headache.
A brain hemorrhage is usually diagnosed with a CT scan or an MRI scan. Both these scans help locate the area of the bleed in the brain and make it easier to target the area to be treated during the treatment of the hemorrhage. To know the cause of the bleed was previously difficult but has now become easier as new techniques like a CT angiogram have been developed.
Brain hemorrhage is treated more actively than precautionary which means the treatment focuses more on stopping the bleeds rather than preventing them from occurring later.
The patient with a hemorrhage has to be closely monitored to narrow down the course of the treatment. Initially the focus of the treatment is to stabilize the patient by keeping a close check on his/her blood pressure, intracranial pressure, and it is also ensured that there is enough oxygen supply to the brain.
Although with a condition so severe, the first thing that seems to be used for its treatment is surgery. According to Dr Srivatsa, surgery is only needed when the pressure in the brain increases or the patient’s condition deteriorates. But otherwise, brain bleeds do not require surgeries and have to be managed with medication.
Drugs are usually prescribed to target the swelling in the brain and also seizures that might occur if the brain matter is injured. Dosage is usually based on the weight of the patient.
Dr Arjun Srivatsa recommends that the patients undergoing the treatment for a hemorrhage should follow a low-salt diet. High salt intake can lead to fluctuations in the blood pressure which can interfere with the treatment of this condition.
He also recommends that the patient should also maintain his ideal weight as an increased weight may cause changes in the blood pressure. In general to prevent a brain hemorrhage he also recommends following a healthy lifestyle by keeping blood pressure under control and maintaining the ideal body weight.
The content has been verified by
Dr Arjun Srivatsa
, renowned neuro and spinal surgeon and founding trustee of Spine Trust India.