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What Is a Brain Hemorrhage?

The human brain, including blood vessels that can hemorrhage.
Elderly may be more susceptible to brain hemorhaging.
The human brain.
In some cases, hemorrhages require the intervention of surgeons.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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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.

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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.

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anon329307
Post 6

I had a brain hemorrhage when I was 15 years old. I was fortunate enough to not go through any surgery, but was heavily sedated and unable to move for a week till the blood was absorbed. Even now, I have no answer as to what caused it.

I am lucky to have recovered completely with no permanent damage. Many say it's a miracle that I'm alive. My symptoms before being rushed to the hospital were headaches and vomiting, and then I fainted and was unconscious for awhile. I'm a survivor and I'm glad to be alive. --KC

sunshined
Post 4

My son was involved in athletics when he was in high school. Between baseball, football and basketball, he has received more than one trauma to the brain.

Each time we had him checked out and he was told to take it easy and be careful in the future. I don't think that really sinks in to a young person who loves sports.

I am so thankful that none of the injuries were ever life threatening or caused any hemorrhage of the brain. He never pursued sports in college and I am thankful for that.

Sometimes it was hard to let him continue playing, but it was something he was very good at and really enjoyed. I still don't know if it was worth it, but at the time it was something that was very important to him.

One of his friends was not as fortunate and ended up having some bleeding on his brain from a hard hit to the head.

SarahSon
Post 3

@bagley79 - Your mom is fortunate she sought medical attention right away. My mom has had high blood pressure for years and has a hard time keeping it under control.

She is also overweight and doesn't have the best diet. She was having symptoms of a possible stroke like dizziness and a bad headache, but didn't do anything about it for several days, just thinking it would get better.

When she was finally seen, they told her she had a stroke. She is really fortunate it was not any worse. I know one of the biggest causes of hemorrhage in the brain is a stroke, and I think this time she was very lucky.

If her brain had hemorrhaged she would probably still be in the hospital. I think this really scared her and now she is trying to make some positive changes.

bagley79
Post 2

My mom had a brain hemorrhage from a stroke. This left her partially paralyzed on the left side of her body. Her recovery has been slow and frustrating.

She knows what she wants to do, but her brain just can't convey that to the rest of her body. Even though she has gone through therapy, and some of the movement has returned, it is still hard for her.

One positive thing is that she is right handed, so she still has full use of her right side. I think another thing that has also helped her is she received medical attention right away.

If she had put off going to the doctor, I think her problems would be a lot worse.

LisaLou
Post 1

When my sister was in high school she was in a bad car accident, and had cerebral brain hemorrhage. She was in a coma for three weeks and was carefully monitored during this time.

Years ago, they didn't have the medical advances they have today. If the same thing had happened to her now, she would have been treated differently.

Even though she eventually recovered, they told her there was damage to the brain and she would always have side effects from this. One of the biggest things we noticed was a shorter attention span and a quick temper.

The brain injury also made it much harder for her to concentrate and focus on tasks at hand. She has been able to live a full life since the brain injury, but many simple, everyday activities don't come nearly as easy for her.

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