What Causes Brain Swelling
Injury, other health problems, infections, tumors, and even high altitudes any of these problems can cause brain swelling to occur. The following list explains different ways the brain can swell:
What Happens When A Brain Bleeds
I’ve been hearing about bleeding in the brain after a TBI. Can you explain how this happens and why it’s so dangerous? What exactly is a subdural hematoma?
Let’s start with the basics. A hematoma is a tumor-like collection of blood, usually clotted, located outside a blood vessel. The subdural space is located between the dura mater and the arachnoid membrane . The epidural space is located on or outside the dura mater.
Now, to answer your question, a subdural hematoma is basically bleeding into the space between the brain cover and the brain itself. More specifically, there are blood vessels running through the brain and in the spaces between the outside of the brain and the inside of the skull. During a brain injury, any of these vessels can tear and bleed. Ruptured vessels running in the subdural space typically veins cause subdural hematomas. Ruptured vessels running through the epidural space typically arteries cause epidural hematomas. Both types of bleeding take up space in the skull and in so doing squeeze down on the brain. Because arteries are under pressure, epidural hematomas leak quickly and compress the brain rapidly while subdural hematomas leak much more slowly.
Getting to the hospital quickly is the best way to diagnose and treat this bleeding, which usually requires surgery to remove the blood and relieve the pressure on the brain.
Did You Recently Get Hit In The Head And Are Now Panicky That There Might Be Bleeding In Your Brain
Knowledge is power! Heres how to know if you should go to the ER.
I was inspired to write this article, which includes an interview with a medical doctor, after reading what laypeople in threads were posting in an effort to reassure OPs who were panicking over getting hit in the head.
Im going to explain how to overcome your fear that you might have a brain bleed and this includes for younger people.
Lets first look at a few myths that have been perpetuated in laypeople forums.
Myth: If you still feel fine a few days after getting hit in the head, you probably dont have a brain bleed.
Myth: If you didnt have a headache or other neurological symptoms in the first 20 minutes after hitting your head, youll be fine.
Myth: In order to get a brain bleed the strike to your head must be high impact like falling off a ladder or a car crash.
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What Recovery Can I Expect After A Brain Hemorrhage
Besides depriving the brain of oxygen and killing brain cells, bleeding inside the brain also prevents nerve cells from communicating with the parts of the body and the functions they control. This results in a loss of memory, speech or movement in the affected area.
Depending on the location of the hemorrhage, the extent of damage and your age and overall health, there can be lasting effects from a brain bleed. These affects can include:
- Inability to move part of the body .
- Numbness or weakness in part of the body.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Difficulty speaking or understanding spoken or written words.
- Confusion, memory loss or poor judgment.
- Personality change and/or emotional problems.
However, over time and with a lot of effort and determination in rehabilitation , you can regain some of these lost functions. This is especially true if your general health is otherwise good.
Unfortunately, some patients who remain in a coma, or have been severely paralyzed after an intracranial or cerebral hemorrhage may need permanent, long-term care typically provided in a nursing home. Depending on the type, location and extent of the brain bleed, many patients do not survive the initial bleeding event.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/04/2020.
What Are The Causes
- Hypertension: elevated blood pressure may cause tiny arteries to burst inside the brain. Normal pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.
- Blood thinners: drugs such as coumadin, heparin, and warfarin used to prevent clots in heart and stroke conditions may cause ICH.
- AVM: a tangle of abnormal arteries and veins with no capillaries in between.
- Aneurysm: a bulge or weakening of an artery wall.
- Head trauma: fractures to the skull and penetrating wounds can damage an artery and cause bleeding.
- Bleeding disorders: hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, DIC, thrombocytopenia.
- Tumors: highly vascular tumors such as angiomas and metastatic tumors can bleed into the brain tissue.
- Amyloid angiopathy: a buildup of protein within the walls of arteries.
- Drug usage: alcohol, cocaine and other illicit drugs can cause ICH.
- Spontaneous: ICH by unknown causes.
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Brain Bleeds And Covid
There is a long sort question from the readers since the outbreak of COVID has been is there any association between COVID and brain hemorrhage? Scientists and doctors have been looking for answers. Some results describe a staunch link between brain bleeds and COVID. Alysson Muotri, a neurologist from San Diego, enunciates that neurological symptoms are scarier after the COVID outburst.
A group of scientists under Michael, the neurologist, codified the medical documentation of the COVID patients. There are 125 people have been analyzed by them 62% had succumbed to brain bleeds, and rest of them had the symptoms of strokes and brain hemorrhage: peripheral brain nerve damage and Post-traumatic stress disorder. Out of the survey conducted among 28.2 million, 50, 000 people have the symptoms of brain bleeds. It seems meager, can even rule the universe as the COVID affects a large number of people.
There is a strong connection between COVID and brain bleeds because COVID creates phlegm and affects throat, nostril, and lungs. The ordinary citizens wish removing the mucus formation for which they try to sneeze. Incessant action can add pressure to the brain walls. It strikes the thinner wall of the brain tissues constantly, and the brain bleeds occur normally.
- Facts about COVID and brain bleeds
- Can COVID affect mental health?
What Is A Haemorrhagic Stroke
If blood leaks from a blood vessel in or around the brain, this is called a haemorrhagic stroke. You may also hear it called a brain haemorrhage or a brain bleed.
In the UK, around 15% of strokes are haemorrhagic , and about 85% are ischaemic .
Haemorrhagic stroke tends to affect younger people than ischaemic stroke, and is most common in people aged between 45 and 70. Most strokes in the UK happen over the age of 70.
There are two main types of haemorrhagic stroke:
- Bleeding within the brain: called an intracerebral haemorrhage, or intracranial haemorrhage .
- Bleeding on the surface of the brain: called a subarachnoid haemorrhage .
Bleeding within the brain
When an artery inside the brain bursts it’s called an intracerebral haemorrhage. About 10% of all strokes are of this type.
The blood leaks out into the brain tissue at high pressure, killing brain cells and causing brain swelling.Bleeding on the surface of the brain
The brain sits inside a fluid-filled cushion of membranes that protects it from the skull, called the subarachnoid space. If blood vessels near the surface of the brain burst and blood leaks into the subarachnoid space, this is called a subarachnoid haemorrhage .
SAH accounts for around 5% of all strokes, and it is most often caused by a burst aneurysm .
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The Road To Recovery Is Not A Linear Process
On Valentine’s Day in 2012, Amy Perring met rugby journalist Will Wood, from Gloucestershire, while on holiday in Dublin and their love quickly blossomed. Little did the couple know their relationship would soon be put to the test just one year later when Will suffered a near-fatal brain injury that changed the course of their future in an instant.
Other Causes Of Bleeding In The Brain Can Include:
- Aneurysms: a bulging of a blood vessel that can occasionally enlarge and burst
- Arteriovenous malformations : a tangle of blood vessels that you are born with
- Subarachnoid haemorrhage: bleeding between the membranes covering the brain
- Blood-thinning drugs: these increase the risk of a bleed occurring
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Gain A Better Understanding Of Brain Bleeds
4 min Read Time
A brain bleed occurs when there is a ruptured blood vessel that creates bleeding in and around the brain. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, approximately 30,000 Americans experience a brain aneurysm rupture each year. How do you know if you could be one of them?
David Wiles, MD, neurosurgeon at Parkridge Medical Center, sat down with us to discuss brain bleeds and how you can recognize the symptoms as soon as possible in order to obtain medical care and treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Slow Brain Bleed
Symptoms of a slow brain bleed, called a subdural hematoma, can include dizziness, change in behavior, confusion and headaches, WebMD notes. In very slow growing hematomas, a person may not exhibit symptoms for two weeks.
Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, excessive drowsiness, apathy, seizures and weakness. People with a subdural hematoma can go from being conscious to becoming comatose immediately or unconsciousness several days after the head injury, WebMD warns.
A subdural hematoma is generally caused by a head injury, such as a fall or car accident, WebMD says. The blood vessels that run along the surface of the brain are torn due to the sudden blow to the head. The bleeding is under the skull, outside of the brain. People who take blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder are also more likely to develop a subdural hematoma by even a minor injury.
Depending on the severity of the hematoma, there are a number of different treatment options, from watching and waiting to brain surgery. In smaller bleeds with mild symptoms, doctors may decide to just observe the patient and perform multiple head imaging tests to see if the hematoma is improving. More severe injuries require surgery to reduce pressure on the patients brain, WebMD states.
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Understanding And Recognizing Brain Bleeding And Contusions
Brain hemorrhages after accidents are not uncommon. Intracranial bleeding can occur between the brain and skull, brain layers, or between the brain and its membranes. The initial trauma generally irritates and damages blood vessels in the brain, causing cerebral edema . This swelling may then compress and damage additional blood vessels resulting in further bleeding. The blood can also pool into hematomas, reducing blood flow and killing brain cells. Strokes occur when the bleeding involves a major brain artery and subsequent blockage.
Patients often develop symptoms of brain bleeds suddenly. The most common symptoms of brain bleeding include:
- Sudden and painful headaches
- Inability to read, write, speak, or effectively communicate
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Nausea and vomiting
- General lack of awareness
Many traumatic brain injuries cause immediate brain trauma and swelling, meaning TBI symptoms and brain bleeding often overlap. Traumatic brain injuries that initially seem mild generally result in slower bleeds that increase pressure over time. If patients go home and their symptoms suddenly worsen, they may be having a traumatic stroke. Sharp and painful headaches, along with confusion, are often the first signs of brain bleeding. However, the symptoms often depend on the bleedâs location. If you recently suffered from brain trauma and begin experiencing different or worsening symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately.
How Is Bleeding In The Brain Treated
Treatment of brain bleeds starts with a careful analysis of the brain through various imaging tests to determine the locations of internal bleeding. Apart from the MRI and CT Scans, which reveal the position of the bleeding, a neurological examinations may be performed to determine if there is any swelling in the optic nerves. Treatments will vary by extent, cause, and location of the hemorrhage. Some diagnoses will require surgery to stop bleeding and to alleviate swelling. Others will require medications such as anticonvulsants that control seizures, diuretics that reduce swelling, and corticosteroids and painkillers.
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What Is The Recovery Rate For A Patient Who Suffers A Brain Bleed
Dr. Wiles: Recovery is very dependent on location of the bleeding within the brain, the size of the bleeding and the general health of the patient prior to the stroke. Some recovery can be a matter of a few days, and others can take months. In general, healing of the complex function of the brain can be a slow process.
It is important to remember that 80 percent of strokes are considered preventable. Take an active interest in your own health and be sure you are not ignoring problems like hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Also, when it comes to a brain bleed, time matters. If you, or someone you know, is having the symptoms of possible stroke, do not delay in getting to the emergency room. Treatment and outcome results are dependent on how quickly the stroke is treated.
If you think you are suffering from a medical emergency, including a stroke, call 911. Prepare yourself to respond in the event of an emergency.
What Treatments Are Available
Treatment may include lifesaving measures, symptom relief, and complication prevention. Once the cause and location of the bleeding is identified, medical or surgical treatment is performed to stop the bleeding, remove the clot, and relieve the pressure on the brain. If left alone the brain will eventually absorb the clot within a couple of weeks however the damage to the brain caused by ICP and blood toxins may be irreversible.
Generally, patients with small hemorrhages and minimal deficits are treated medically. Patients with cerebellar hemorrhages who are deteriorating or who have brainstem compression and hydrocephalus are treated surgically to remove the hematoma as soon as possible. Patients with large lobar hemorrhages who are deteriorating usually undergo surgical removal of the hematoma.
Medical treatment The patient will stay in the stroke unit or intensive care unit for close monitoring and care.
Surgical treatment The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the blood clot as possible and stop the source of bleeding if it is from an identifiable cause such as an AVM or tumor. Depending on the location of the clot either a craniotomy or a stereotactic aspiration may be performed.
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Can Thunderclap Headaches Be Prevented
Because they come on without warning, it is difficult to prevent thunderclap headaches. Managing underlying health conditions and avoiding triggers are the best ways to keep them from occurring. If you have high blood pressure or vascular problems, it is important to work with your doctor to follow a regular treatment plan.
Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle helps keep blood pressure from rising to levels that could cause a condition involving a thunderclap headache. In addition, quitting smoking and controlling cholesterol levels can help reduce the risk of blood vessel problems.
What Causes Brain Hemorrhages
Brain bleeding primarily results from the irritation of brain tissues, which leads to swelling or cerebral palsy. The swelling increases pressure on arteries causing them to burst and create hematomas that prevent blood flow to the affected brain parts, thus damaging or killing the brain cells. Causes may include, but or not limited to:
- chronic high blood pressure over a long period of time
- trauma, such as a blow to the head
- aneurysms that weaken the walls of blood vessels may also make the arteries swell and burst into the brain
- malformations in brain arteries and blood vessels
- amyloid angiopathy which is an abnormality of the walls of blood arteries often related to high blood pressure and aging
- bleeding disorders such as sickle cell anemia and hemophilia
- brain tumors and liver disease may also lead to brain bleeding
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleed In The Brain
If you or someone with you becomes unwell very suddenly, you should get help immediately by calling 999 straight away.
The main symptoms of bleeding in the brain include:
- Headache: this may be very sudden and sharp
- Weakness: usually on one side of the body, either in the face, arm or leg
- Speech problems: such as suddenly struggling to produce or understand speech
- Vomiting: which may occur rapidly, often with a headache
- Seizures: involving a fall to the ground and shaking, or part of the body becoming stiff
- Coma or losing consciousness
How Is A Bleed In The Brain Diagnosed
Your consultant will examine you, take a history of what happened, and suggest some tests.
One of the tests will likely be a scan of your head, either a CT or MRI scan. Sometimes these scans may also reveal the underlying cause of the bleed.
Once bleeding has been confirmed, and the cause found, your consultant will work with you to create a treatment plan.
This plan will aim to reduce and manage any symptoms you have left after the bleed, to ensure you retain your quality of life.
The plan will also aim to reduce the chance of another bleed occurring.
Depending on the cause of the bleed, this treatment might involve lifestyle changes, changes to existing or new medication, or even surgery.
Rest assured that your needs will be at the centre of the treatment plan.
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