Defining Hemorrhagic Strokes

Hemorrhagic stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Hemorrhagic strokes are when the blood vessel ruptures and bleeding inside the brain occurs. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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Why and how do blood vessels rupture?

The vessels break due to the weakening of the blood vessel. The two main reasons for weak blood vessels are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformation. An aneurysm is when part of an artery forms an abnormal bulge and may burst, leading to bleeding. An arteriovenous malformation is when arteries and veins form incorrectly. In an intracerebral hemorrhage, the bleeding takes place within the brain. The subarachnoid hemorrhage causes bleeding to occur on the surface of the brain.

What causes blood vessels to weaken and burst?

The most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is hypertension. Other causes include head injuries, protein deposits in the blood vessel wall, liver disease, brain cancer, and bleeding disorders. When there is a collection of blood formed, the nerve cells are affected and inflammation takes place. The brain becomes disrupted by the formation of a blood pool and increased pressure inside the brain. Some risk factors include smoking and alcoholism, drug abuse, and older age.

Signs and symptoms to watch out for

Knowing the symptoms of hemorrhagic strokes is crucial and should not be overlooked. Some of the symptoms to be aware of include numbness or weakness of the face or limbs, confusion, and headache. Additional signs to know are trouble speaking or understanding, vision difficulty, and gait and coordination issues. Recognizing stroke is significantly important to avoid further complications.

A very important technique to save a life

Seek immediate medical assistance if any of the above mentioned symptoms appear. However, using the FAST technique can help save a life. FAST stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, and time. Look at the face and ask the person to smile, and pay attention to any facial droop. Next, check if the person is able to lift the arm and ask to speak to check for slurred speech. Lastly, if any of these signs occur, do not delay time and call emergency help as soon as possible.

How is a hemorrhagic stroke diagnosed?

The healthcare provider will take a detailed medical history and do a physical examination. The doctor will likely recommend some tests such as blood tests and imaging. Imaging may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), echocardiogram, cerebral angiogram, or carotid ultrasound. The specialist will decide on what type of imaging to proceed with.

Stroke management

The treatment for hemorrhagic stroke is to prevent bleeding, control blood pressure, and reduce the pressure inside the brain. The treatment is a combination of medications and surgery. However, depending on the severity of the stroke and the symptoms one experiences, the doctor will advise the best care.

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