A brain hemorrhage is caused when blood vessels break or rupture, allowing blood to leak into the brain. The condition can take many different forms, and may be caused by a head injury or an internal condition that leads to a rupture. A brain hemorrhage is a critical medical issue, and medical treatment must be sought immediately to lower the risk of long-term damage or fatality.
When a stroke or injury causes a brain hemorrhage, the leaking blood destroys healthy brain cells. The brain may swell from the pressure, creating an area of swollen tissue called a hematoma. Although the condition is often sudden and unexpected, some symptoms may occur that can warn of a hemorrhage. Sudden nausea, dizziness, paralysis or a sharp and intense headache can all be signs of hemorrhage. Loss of consciousness and sudden seizures can also occur in some cases.
Certain people are more at risk for a brain hemorrhage and should be aware of possible symptoms that indicate a problem. People with high blood pressure, weak blood vessels, or certain cancers, as well as those who use drugs may all have a higher risk for a hemorrhage. High blood pressure is especially concerning, as the blood vessel walls become stressed with time and may be more likely to break. The elderly may also be more susceptible to hemorrhage, as vessels typically weaken with age.
Depending on how quickly the condition is identified, treatment options may vary. Drugs may be given to lessen bleeding, reduce swelling, and relieve pain. Doctors may also give medication to quickly lower blood pressure; however, this can lead to a severe drop in blood pressure that may harm the patient. Surgery may be required depending on the type and severity of the hemorrhage.
Because a hemorrhage can occur in any area of the brain, post-hemorrhage problems can be variable. Some patients may experience total recovery, while others may suffer permanent brain damage and loss of some abilities. Even with immediate medical treatment, some severe hemorrhages can lead to death. The placement of the bleeding, severity and underlying conditions can all contribute to the likelihood of survival.
Anyone who has suffered a head trauma should be on the lookout for potential symptoms of a brain hemorrhage. Symptoms may not initially be present, but may appear several hours after the injury. Many experts recommend seeing a doctor immediately following a head injury, regardless of whether or not the injured person is in pain or has symptoms. Detecting bleeding early under medical monitoring can save the life of the injured person.