Bleeding in the brain, otherwise known as intracerebral hemorrhage or ICH, occurs when a blood vessel within the brain bursts, causing damage to the brain. The condition can be life-threatening and is quite common. Based on educational data in many institutions, intracerebral hemorrhage was found to occur in 10 to 20 cases per year per one hundred thousand people. Intracerebral hemorrhage is a major cause of disability, paralysis and fatality.
Bleeding in the brain is primarily caused by the deterioration of the brain blood vessels, making them brittle and prone to breakage. Intracerebral hemorrhage is more common in people over 40 years of age. The most common cause of intracerebral hemorrhage is high blood pressure (hypertension). Other risk factors include congenital disease, diabetes, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can vary depending on the location of the bleeding. Common symptoms include:
- Sudden tingling, weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Sudden, severe headache, nausea and vomiting
- Lethargy or confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty understanding, speaking, reading or writing
If you, or someone you know, has any of the symptoms mentioned above, seek immediate medical attention. Any type of bleeding inside the skull or brain is a medical emergency. A neurosurgeon will evaluate and plan the right treatment for the patient. The treatment plan depends on the patient’s condition and the amount of blood released in the brain. Depending on the severity of the hemorrhage, brain surgery may be required. Long-term rehabilitation treatments are available to help the patient regain functions necessary for daily living such as physical therapy, speech therapy and dietary changes.
Prevention is always the best medicine. Strategies for preventing intracerebral hemorrhage include:
- Regular exercise
- Controlling blood pressure
- Smoking cessation
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages
- Avoiding stress
Not only do these recommendations help reduce the incidence of bleeding in the brain, but they can also help reduce the incidence of other diseases and make your health stronger, both physically and mentally.