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Signs of Brain Haemorrhage: A Comprehensive Guide for Caregivers | Max Hospital

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Urgent Signs of Brain Hemorrhage: Essential Guide for Caregivers

By Prof. (Dr). V.K.Jain in Neurosurgery , Neurosciences , Spine Surgery

Jun 07 , 2024 | 3 min read

Brain haemorrhage, also known as intracranial haemorrhage, is a critical medical condition characterised by bleeding within the brain or its surrounding membranes. It requires immediate medical care as it can result in serious complications, including death. Caregivers and loved ones play a crucial role in identifying the signs of brain haemorrhage to ensure timely intervention and improve the chances of a positive outcome. This blog will explore the common signs of brain haemorrhage, providing a comprehensive guide that combines technical details with a lucid presentation.

Understanding Brain Haemorrhage

Brain haemorrhage occurs due to various causes, such as trauma, high blood pressure, aneurysm rupture, arteriovenous malformation, or certain medical conditions. It results in bleeding within the brain tissue or the surrounding membranes. The severity of the haemorrhage depends on factors like location, size, and rate of bleeding. 

  • Headache: A hallmark symptom of brain haemorrhage is a sudden and severe headache. Referred to as a thunderclap headache, it manifests with an intense onset, reaching its peak within seconds or minutes. The headache may feel distinct from previous headaches and may be accompanied by a sensation of pressure or an internal bursting sensation within the head. 
  • Neurological Deficits: A brain haemorrhage can cause neurological deficits due to the disruption of normal brain function. The specific deficits vary depending on the location and extent of the bleeding. Here are common signs to watch for:
    • Weakness or numbness: Sudden weakness or numbness, often affecting one side of the body, may occur in the face, arm, or leg.
    • Difficulty speaking or understanding: Slurred speech, difficulty finding words, or confusion in understanding others' speech may be observed.
    • Vision problems: Blurred or double vision, vision loss in one or both eyes or difficulty with peripheral vision may manifest.
    • Coordination and balance issues: Sudden difficulties with balance, coordination, and walking may be apparent.
    • Seizures: Brain haemorrhage can occasionally trigger seizures, characterised by uncontrolled shaking or convulsions. 
  • Altered Mental State: A brain haemorrhage can lead to changes in mental status or consciousness. Caregivers and loved ones should be attentive to the following signs:
    • Confusion or disorientation: The affected person may become confused or disoriented or have difficulty focusing or remembering.
    • Loss of consciousness: In severe cases, brain haemorrhage can result in a loss of consciousness or even a coma. 
  • Nausea, Vomiting, and Dizziness: A brain haemorrhage can cause symptoms similar to other brain-related conditions, such as increased intracranial pressure. These symptoms may include persistent nausea, vomiting (without relief), and feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Severe or Progressive Symptoms: If any of the above signs are severe or progressively worsening over a short period, immediate medical attention is crucial. Rapid deterioration may indicate a more critical condition that requires urgent intervention.

Recognising the signs of brain haemorrhage is paramount for caregivers and loved ones. Early detection and prompt medical intervention can significantly impact the affected person's outcome. If you observe any of the signs discussed, especially sudden and severe headaches, neurological deficits, altered mental state, or other concerning symptoms, you should seek emergency medical help. Time plays a critical role in brain haemorrhage cases, and swift action can be lifesaving.

Treatment for Brain Haemorrhage 

The treatment is two-fold:

  1. Treatment of the haemorrhage/hematoma: If the size of this hematoma is large and it is causing a lot of pressure on the surrounding brain, then urgent life saving surgery is required. If the size is small, it may be treated medically.
  2. Treatment of the cause of the haemorrhage: We have to treat the cause of the haemorrhage. If you don't do this, the haemorrhage occurs again and is usually fatal. This is done by treating the cause of the bleeding. For this purpose, we have to do an angiogram, which shows the brain arteries and veins and the site of the bleeding, which then requires further treatment to seal the site.