What is an intracerebral hemorrhage?
"Intra" means within. The cerebrum is your brain. Hemorrhage is bleeding. So intracerebral hemorrhage is bleeding inside your brain. An intracerebral hemorrhage is a medical emergency that often causes permanent brain damage or death. Intracerebral hemorrhage caused by anything other than injury is considered a type of stroke Stroke A stroke is a sudden brain problem that happens when a blood vessel in your brain either gets blocked or breaks open and bleeds. Part of your brain stops getting blood. Brain tissue that doesn't... read more .
An intracerebral hemorrhage happens when a blood vessel bursts in your brain
The first symptom is usually a headache
You may become confused or go into a coma
Doctors will treat the problems that caused your bleeding, such as high blood pressure
People who have any symptom of an intracerebral hemorrhage should go to an emergency department immediately.
What causes an intracerebral hemorrhage?
An intracerebral hemorrhage is caused by a blood vessel bursting in your brain.
The most common cause of a bursting blood vessel is high blood pressure High Blood Pressure Each heart beat pushes blood through your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. Without... read more , which weakens your blood vessels.
Less common causes are:
Using cocaine or amphetamines (uppers)
Being born with abnormal blood vessels in your brain
Severe head injury
Using too much blood thinning medicine
What are the symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage?
Symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage start suddenly. You usually get a very bad headache, often while being active. Older people may not have a headache or only a mild one. Other common symptoms are:
Weakness or numbness on one side of your body
Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up
An intracerebral hemorrhage is so serious that about half of people who have it die in the first few days. Most survivors have long-lasting brain damage.
How will my doctor know if I had an intracerebral hemorrhage?
Doctors usually suspect an intracerebral hemorrhage based on your symptoms. To make sure they're right, they'll get detailed pictures of the inside of your brain with an imaging test (CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more or MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more ).
How do doctors treat an intracerebral hemorrhage?
Doctors will admit you to the hospital and treat the problems that caused your bleeding. They'll have you stay in bed and stop taking any medicines that could make your bleeding worse. You also may get:
Medicine to relieve your headache and any seizures you may have
Medicine and fluids to keep your blood pressure at the right level
If you were taking blood thinners, you may get medicine to help your blood clot and stop the bleeding
Sometimes, surgery to remove the extra blood and relieve pressure within the skull