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Bleeding on the Brain: Signs & Symptoms

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

We are going to discuss the term for bleeding on the brain and gain an understanding of the most common signs and symptoms that are associated with bleeding on the brain.

Brain Bleeding

You cut your finger: it bleeds, it stops, no problem. You scrape your elbow: it bleeds, it stops, no problem. You fall and hit your head: your brain bleeds, that's a problem! Bleeding in the brain is known as a brain hemorrhage. You can remember this term by remembering that hemorrhage means bleeding or a bursting forth of blood.

A brain hemorrhage can cause a stroke
Diagram showing bleeding on the brain

This is a very serious condition because bleeding on the brain can damage brain tissue and kill other cells. When a brain aneurysm ruptures or leaks, this is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. There is only a small amount of space between the brain and the skull. That area can fill with blood rather quickly and cause pressure to build on the brain, which may also kill brain tissue and lead to becoming brain dead.

There are several changes that will happen in the body to indicate there is bleeding on the brain. You have to keep in mind that your brain controls everything that happens in your body. So, almost every organ system in your body is affected one way or another by brain bleeding. Some of the changes may come and go and others may get progressively worse over time.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

We normally expect to experience pain anytime we have an injury. Headaches, often that are sudden and severe, occur when there is bleeding on the brain. The headache is probably going to be one of your most pronounced and potentially first symptom of brain bleeding.

Your level of consciousness may change when you have brain bleeding. This change can range from feeling lethargic to a complete loss of consciousness. Your level of consciousness changes due to a decrease in the amount of oxygen getting to your brain.

Other things that may occur due to bleeding on the brain include a loss of coordination, balance and fine motor skills. Which of these you lose will depend on the part of the brain that is affected by the bleeding. If the part(s) that control these functions are damaged, then you will lose that function.

Some activities that you normally do without giving much thought to imay also change. You may find it difficult to speak, write, read and/or swallow. These functions are also affected based on the part of the brain affected by the bleeding. They may also be lost due to the changes in consciousness, as well.

Nausea and vomiting are two symptoms that may happen with brain bleeding. You may not understand what bleeding on the brain has to do with the stomach. You have to remember that the brain controls everything in the body, including the digestion of food. There may be a loss of signals to the stomach, which may result in a feeling of nausea and/or vomiting.

Neurological Signs and Symptoms

Since bleeding on the brain can cause a stroke, you may begin to think of some of the neurological symptoms that are seen with a stroke. One of these symptoms is weakness on one side of the body. It is easiest to see this weakness in the arm, leg and face.

Along with the feeling of weakness, you may experience a numbing or tingling sensation. This occurs due to the brain not being able to interpret physical sensations that are communicated by the nerves in the different areas of the body.

Similarly, visual disturbances may occur when there is bleeding on the brain. This is also due to a loss of communication between the brain and nerves. In this case, the signals received from the optic nerves are not properly understood in the brain.

Your sense of taste may also be altered some. Various tastes may be interpreted by the brain even though nothing is in your mouth, or the signal about the taste may change. So, you could be eating a sweet strawberry, but it is interpreted as tasting salty.

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