Intracerebral hemorrhage occurs when blood bursts into the brain tissue suddenly, causing severe impairment to the brain. Symptoms manifest suddenly and usually on one side of the body. Accumulation of blood exerts pressure on the brain and cuts off its oxygen supply. This results in rapid brain and nerve damage.
Intracerebral hemorrhage is a medical emergency and calls for prompt treatment. Treatment comprises of surgical intervention to allay the pressure from the built up blood and repair of the damaged blood vessels.
Causes And Symptoms Of Intracerebral Hemorrhage
- Hypertension is the chief cause for the occurrence of intracerebral hemorrhage.
- Another common cause is an abnormally formed blood vessel in the brain.
- A cerebral aneurysm that has ruptured.
- An arteriovenous malformation can also result in intracerebral hemorrhage; it is a group of malformed blood vessels within the brain which hampers the normal flow of blood.
- Bleeding disorders such as – sickle cell anemia and haemophilia.
- Head injury
- Bleeding tumors
- Using blood thinners
- Cocaine abuse
Clinical features for intracerebral hemorrhage are –
- A sudden weakness, tingling numbness, or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg.
- Sudden severe headache
- Cannot swallow
- Vision gets affected
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and delirium
- Loss of balance and coordination.
- Drowsiness, lethargy, loss of consciousness.
Treatment Guidelines For Intracerebral Hemorrhage
Your doctor will perform a neurological exam. Imaging tests need to be done to conclude whether you’re having a hemorrhage or blockage. A CT scan will be done to confirm bleeding. MRI helps the doctor visualize the brain clearly to recognize the precise cause of the bleeding. An angiogram takes images of the flow of blood within an artery. Once all the tests and investigations have been carried out, your doctor will establish the exact cause and start prompt treatment. If the treatment is started in the first 3 hours of the onset of symptoms, the prognosis of the case is fairly good.
Surgery is done to ease the pressure on the brain and repair the damaged arteries. Painkillers will be given to allay severe headaches. Anti anxiety medications help control blood pressure. Anti epileptic drugs may be necessary to ward off seizures.
A long-term treatment also needs to be in place to deal with symptoms caused by impairment to the brain. You may require physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to help bring back muscle function and improve communication.
You can reduce your chances of developing intracerebral hemorrhage by –
- Quitting smoking
- Managing hypertension
- Dealing with heart disease.
- Ensuring that the blood sugar level is normal.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a wholesome diet plan and regular moderate exercise.
Recovery after an intracerebral hemorrhage tends to vary from individual to individual, and depends up on a host of factors – age, general health, location of the hemorrhage, and the degree of the damage.
People take months to years to recover. Most people have a long-term disability. In certain cases, nursing home care is necessary. Support groups help people and families cope better.