Brain haemorrhage is a type of stroke wherein damage induced to the artery results in localised bleeding in the brain, and destroys the tissues and cells in the vicinity. When the rupture caused to the wall of the blood vessels results in blood spill, the blood enters the area wherein vital tissues and cells of brain are located and kills them. It is a severe condition, wherein the person needs immediate medication/treatment - if the person is not subjected to proper treatment in time, it can result in further complications like loss of brain function and cause coma or death.
Causes of brain haemorrhage
Right from high blood pressure to brain tumour - any condition which causes the blood vessels to weaken can make you vulnerable to brain haemorrhage. In fact, 80 percent of the patients are known to have a history of high blood pressure. Other common conditions which contribute to weakening of blood vessels include head trauma (common in people under 50), aneurysm (which results in swelling of blood vessel walls thus making them vulnerable to bursting), blood vessel abnormalities (like amyloid angiopathy in aged people), bleeding disorders such as haemophilia and anaemia, formation of some substances in the blood vessels which are carried along with blood to the brain, brain functional malformation, etc. In fact, you are at a high risk of suffering from brain haemorrhage, if:
- You are constantly under pressure/stress in your personal or professional life.
- You have a family history of brain haemorrhage.
- You have weak blood vessels due to some underlying condition.
- You have a mutation in cystatin C gene.
- You suffer from chronic high blood pressure.
- You drink or smoke (or resort to substance abuse) very often.
Even though brain haemorrhage occurs in a flash without any warning in most of the cases, some symptoms are considered to be the warning bells for impending disaster. You should look out for these haemorrhage symptoms to figure out if you are vulnerable to it. A sudden and very intense headache, vomiting/nausea are most common symptoms. If you experience that your body parts are not responding to your will, i.e., if you feel paralysed or in other words if you feel sudden numbness in body organs (this may be a momentary condition), then you should consult your neurologist for further diagnosis. In case of pinprick haemorrhages in the brain, the leakage of blood starts very slowly and very small quantity of blood spills out of the vessel in the sensitive area of the brain. In such cases, the patient does not get a severe stroke, but he slowly starts losing his consciousness.
Diagnosis of brain haemorrhage
There are series of tests that are used to diagnose a condition which is likely to lead to a haemorrhage. A CT (Computerised Tomography) scan or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan can help find out where the haemorrhage has occurred. Lumbar puncture - i.e. surgical removal of fluid from the subarachnoid space of the lumbar region of the spinal cord for diagnostic purpose, angiography - imaging done by injecting a radio-opaque contrast agent into the blood vessel, etc., are other tests that are used in the diagnosis of brain haemorrhage.
The treatment depends on its location and severity, so does the success of any surgery. Diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology and microsurgical techniques are a few treatment options available for haemorrhage. The doctor will select the best option depending on the type of haemorrhage. In most cases, surgery is employed in order to remove the spilled blood, and is followed by a stitch to the artery to stop the blood leakage. Treating it by surgery has its own pros and cons. While the patient can successfully come out of the deadly situation, in some cases he may end up losing his life. At times, the patient may even have to sacrifice the functionality of the affected organ as a consequence of a haemorrhage stroke.
As brain haemorrhage causes severe stroke in patients, recovery of the patient carries many possibilities - some patients resume their normal life after treatment (which can be a long-term or short-term treatment depending upon therapy used), while some end up losing the functionality of the organ which was affected by the stroke. It is very difficult to predict how much time recovery from haemorrhage will take as it is bound to differ from case to case.
Though the fact that it can be fatal is quite alarming, the better part is that it can be prevented by identifying risk factors and working on them. Chronic blood pressure, for instance, is the biggest culprit when it comes to haemorrhage causes. It means treatment of hypertension can help you reduce the risk of suffering from brain haemorrhage. Same rule applies to other risk factors - such as head trauma, which can be prevented by taking necessary precautions like wearing helmet while riding a bike. With the consequences being so severe, it is wise to go by the age-old adage - prevention is better than cure.