Although headache is frequently associated with bleeding in the brain, it is not always present. Most often, the symptoms associated with a brain hemorrhage are dependent on the particular area of the brain that is involved. If the bleeding is in the part of the brain associated with vision, there may be problems seeing. Problems with balance and coordination, weakness on one side, numbness, or sudden seizure may occur. The speech center for many people is located in the left side of the brain and bleeding into this area may cause marked speech disturbances.
If the bleeding is in the lower brain (brainstem), where most of the automatic body functions are regulated, a patient may become unresponsive or go into a coma. Additionally, sometimes symptoms of brain hemorrhage may come on very abruptly and rapidly worsen. Alternatively, the symptoms may progress slowly over many hours or even days
The most common cause of a brain hemorrhage is elevated blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can weaken arterial walls and lead to rupture. When this occurs, blood collects in the brain leading to symptoms of a stroke. Other causes of hemorrhage include aneurysm – a weak spot in the wall of an artery – which then balloons out and may break open. Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) are abnormal connections between arteries and veins and are usually present from birth and can cause brain hemorrhage later in life.
In some cases, people with cancer who develop distant spread of their original cancer to their brain (metastatic disease) can develop brain hemorrhages in the areas of brain where the cancer has spread. In elderly individuals, amyloid protein deposits along the blood vessels can cause the vessel wall to weaken leading to a hemorrhagic stroke. Cocaine or drug abuse can weaken blood vessels and lead to bleeding in the brain. Some prescription drugs can also increase the risk of brain hemorrhage.
What are the types of brain haemorrhages?
Depending upon the site of bleeding, it is of 4 types – epidural haemorrhage, subdural haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage (between the different layers of the brain covering) and intracerebral haemorrhage (inside the matter of brain).
What causes brain haemorrhage?
Hypertension, inherent weakness of the blood vessels, trauma (like hitting or falling against the head) are common causes. Long term drug abuse and cancer patients also may suffer brain haemorrhages.
What are the implications of brain haemorrhage?
Patient presents with symptoms of stroke – symptoms due to the lack of oxygen supply to brain. If untreated in a short span of time, it can lead to permanent loss of function in certain part of the brain. Brain may also show swelling.
Who is prone to developing brain haemorrhage?
Hypertensive elderly population is at risk of developing brain haemorrhage. Drug abusers and those with bleeding disorders or tendency to bleed are also prone.
How serious is brain haemorrhage? Is brain haemorrhage fatal?
Brain haemorrhage causes brain stroke (rapidly or after a long standing bleed) which is an emergency case and can be corrected by immediate monitoring and medical attention. If untreated, it can prove to be fatal.
How is brain haemorrhage treated?
Brain haemorrhages can easily be detected and localised by MRI (magnetic resonance Imaging) or CT scan (computed tomography), both are safe and commonly practiced investigations.
How is the long-term recovery from brain haemorrhage after treatment?
Patient survival is seen in those with small haemorrhages and certain sites of the brain. Treatment is successful in these patients. Poor survival rates are seen with bigger haemorrhages and at strategic locations.
Is there any long lasting effect post-treatment of brain haemorrhage?
If given immediate attention, symptoms are completely reversible (within 30 minutes). However, in other cases long lasting disabilities can manifest depending upon location of the haemorrhage like speech problems, physical weakness, episodic headaches or seizures.
Can the residual effects be treated?
Yes, rehabilitation programmes to restore normal function and medications to prevent attacks of headaches, seizures etc. are provided after treatment of brain haemorrhage.