An intracranial hemorrhage occurs when there is a sudden release of blood into the cranium and brain tissue, which can cause damage to the brain. Often, this appears similar to a stroke, and it is a serious medical emergency that requires fast action and treatment before the damage is permanent or deadly. If there is too much of a buildup of blood and fluid in the brain, it can cause serious nerve damage, as it interferes with the oxygen supply. In some cases, it could lead to death.
There are a number of different symptoms associated with intracranial hemorrhages, and as mentioned, many of them mimic the effects of a stroke. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- A sudden and severe headache
- Trouble swallowing
- Weakness, tingling, or paralysis in part of the body (arm, leg, face)
- Vision problems with one or both eyes
- Problems with basic language skills such as speaking, comprehension, writing, and reading
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Trouble with vision in one or both of the eyes
- Lethargy and sleepiness
- Loss of consciousness
As you can see, many of these actually do seem very similar to the symptoms of someone who has suffered from a stroke. Regardless of whether they’ve had a stroke or have intracranial hemorrhages, they need to have immediate medical attention to determine the cause and the best type of treatment.
What Are the Causes?
One of the most common causes is high blood pressure. For those who are younger and who suffer from this condition, it could result from blood vessels that have formed abnormally in the brain. However, these are certainly not the only causes. Some of the other methods by which someone may receive an intracranial hemorrhage include head injuries, blood clots that block an artery in the brain, bleeding tumors and bleeding disorders (including sickle cell anemia and hemophilia)
Men seem to be at a greater risk for developing this condition than women area, and there is a greater number of people in the Japanese and African American communities who are at risk according to research from the Mayfield Clinic. However, that certainly does not preclude those of all races and sexes from developing the condition.
What Will the Doctors Do?
When you show symptoms of intracranial hemorrhaging, the doctors will order a neurological exam. They will utilize various imaging tests to determine whether the patient is suffering from an ischemic stroke or a hemorrhagic stroke. Doctors can use various tools, such as CT scans, MRI, and angiograms to help them determine the patient’s condition.
What Are the Treatments and Potential Complications?
Those who receive treatment within the first three hours of developing these symptoms tend to have a better chance of recovering, although they may still suffer from some permanent damage. Medications and surgery can help to relieve the pressure on the brain, and in the case of those who are suffering from severe headaches, the doctor may prescribe painkillers. Long-term damage will require various types of treatment that could include physical therapy, as well as speech therapy and modification of daily activities.
Some of the complications that can arise from this condition include fatigue, impaired language skills, loss of vision, swallowing issues, seizures, depression and other emotional problems. The sooner a patient receives proper treatment, the less severe many of these issues will be.
Some tips for preventing or reducing the risk of intracranial hemorrhage are to not smoke, get proper treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease, and to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Many feel that prevention is always the best medicine.