What is a Brain Bleed?

On July 21st, 2017

Neuron blood flow as brain circulation with cells flowing through veins and human circulatory system representing a medical health care symbol relating to stroke or neurology issues.A brain bleed is a type of stroke that occurs when an artery in a person’s brain bursts and causes bleeding throughout the surrounding cranial tissues.

Brain bleeds amount to around 13% of all strokes and it begins from some form of trauma that creates swelling called a cerebral edema. Blood will collect in these places of swelling into what is known as a hematoma, and when this happens not enough blood flow will occur throughout the entire brain, which also kills brain cells.

Brain bleeds go by a few different names: cerebral hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage and intracranial hemorrhage. Bleeding can happen in several different areas: within the brain, beneath the brain membranes or beneath the skull.

Common causes of a brain bleed

Brain bleeds can be incredibly dangerous and they can occur just about anywhere within your cranial cavity. Here are some of the condition’s main causes:

  1. The most common way that brain bleeds occur is through an injury or some form of physical head trauma.
  2. Another very common cause is high blood pressure, which can weaken the blood vessel walls within your brain. This is one of the most preventable causes that can be easily treated.
  3. An aneurysm is when a blood vessel wall in the brain swells, weakens and then eventually bursts into the brain creating a stroke.
  4. Also bleeding or blood disorders like sickle cell or hemophilia can create brain bleeds.
  5. Lastly liver disease and brain tumors are major causes associated in general with increased bleeding.

Symptoms of bleeding in the brain

Many times it can be hard to distinguish the exact symptoms of brain bleeding, and that’s mainly because the symptoms can vary. It will mostly depend on the exact location of the brain bleeding, as well as the severity and amount of tissue affected. Symptoms develop both over time as well as appear suddenly.
What happens when a brain bleed occurs?

  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures with no prior history
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Vision changes
  • Tingling/numbness
  • Difficulty speaking or comprehending speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty reading/writing
  • Hand tremors
  • Loss of coordination/balance
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness in a leg/arm

Many times doctors will use CT scans or MRIs to reveal blood accumulation and internal bleeding, and sometimes eye exams are done to show if there is any swelling within the optic nerves.

Procedures vary for each patient with brain bleeds. Surgery is sometimes needed to alleviate bleeding and swelling. Almost always, treatment comes along with prescribed medications including diuretics, painkillers and corticosteroids in order to control seizures and reduce swelling. Recovery from a brain bleed depends on many variables including, a patient’s health and the severity and location of the hemorrhage.

Neurosurgery in Portland, OR

If you feel as though you may be suffering from some of these symptoms then there are several next steps of treatment available for you. Your doctor can then determine if you have bleeding in the brain based upon an examination and your symptoms.

Dr. Todd Kuether has been serving the Portland community for over 10 years now, providing surgery and consultations for brain and spine injuries. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

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