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What are the Symptoms of a Brain Bleed?

A head injury can be a distressing event. It’s something that can be caused by a wide range of events including a car accident, slip and fall or even a bicycle accident. One of the most common results of a head injury is a brain bleed. The symptoms of a brain bleed following a head injury can vary depending on the severity and location of the bleeding. While some symptoms may be immediate, others can develop gradually over time. It’s crucial to be aware of these symptoms to seek immediate medical attention, as a brain bleed can be a life-threatening condition. Recognizing the signs and symptoms can aid in prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, potentially minimizing further complications.

What Is a Brain Bleed? 

A brain bleed, also known as an intracranial hemorrhage, refers to bleeding that occurs within the brain tissue or the surrounding spaces. It can be caused by various factors, including head trauma, ruptured blood vessels, high blood pressure, aneurysms, or certain medical conditions. When a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, blood leaks into the surrounding areas, leading to a buildup of pressure and potential damage to brain tissue. Brain bleeds can be classified into different types, such as subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage, depending on the location of the bleeding. 

What are the Early Symptoms of a Brain Bleed? 

The early symptoms of a brain bleed can vary depending on the location and severity of the bleeding. Some common early signs to watch for include:

  • Headache: A sudden and severe headache that is often described as the worst headache of one’s life can be an early symptom of a brain bleed.
  • Loss of consciousness: In some cases, a person may experience a loss of consciousness immediately following a head injury or trauma, indicating a possible brain bleed.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Feeling nauseous and vomiting can occur as a result of increased intracranial pressure caused by the bleeding.
  • Weakness or numbness: Weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs, particularly on one side of the body, can indicate a brain bleed.
  • Seizures: Seizures, which may involve convulsions or jerking movements, can occur due to the disruption of normal brain activity caused by the bleeding.
  • Changes in vision: Blurred vision, double vision, or sudden visual disturbances can be an early sign of a brain bleed.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech: Impaired speech, slurred speech, or difficulty understanding others can be an indication of a brain bleed affecting the language centers of the brain.

What are Worsening Symptoms of a Brain Bleed? 

As a brain bleed progresses, the symptoms can worsen and become more pronounced. These worsening symptoms often indicate a more severe condition and require immediate medical attention. Here are some common worsening symptoms of a brain bleed:

  • Increased headache: The headache may intensify over time and become more severe than the initial headache experienced after the injury.
  • Deteriorating level of consciousness: The person may become increasingly drowsy, confused, or disoriented. They may have difficulty staying awake or lose consciousness altogether.
  • Seizures: Seizures can become more frequent, prolonged, or intense, posing a serious risk to the individual’s health and well-being.
  • Changes in pupil size or reactivity: One or both pupils may enlarge and fail to constrict properly in response to light. This condition is known as anisocoria and can indicate increased pressure on the brain.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech: Speech may become more slurred, incomprehensible, or garbled. The person may struggle to express themselves or comprehend others.
  • Weakness or paralysis: Muscle weakness or paralysis can worsen, affecting one side or both sides of the body. This can lead to difficulties with movement, coordination, or even complete immobility.
  • Loss of sensation: There may be a progressive loss of sensation, including numbness or tingling, in various parts of the body.
  • Increased breathing difficulties: Shallow or irregular breathing patterns, difficulty breathing, or noticeable changes in respiratory rate may occur.
  • Deterioration of vision: Visual disturbances may worsen, including blurred vision, double vision, or a complete loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Cognition and behavioral changes: The person’s cognitive abilities may decline, leading to memory problems, confusion, irritability, personality changes, or altered mental status.

What are the Treatment Options for a Brain Bleed? 

The treatment options for a brain bleed depend on various factors, including the type, location, and severity of the bleed, as well as the individual’s overall health condition. Here are some common treatment approaches for a brain bleed:

  • Monitoring and observation: In some cases, small or minor brain bleeds may not require invasive treatment. The medical team may choose to closely monitor the individual’s condition, ensuring vital signs are stable, and conduct regular imaging tests to track the progress of the bleed.
  • Medications: Medications may be administered to manage symptoms and prevent further complications. For example, pain relievers can help alleviate headaches, antiepileptic drugs can control seizures, and medications to manage blood pressure and reduce swelling may be prescribed.
  • Surgery: Depending on the location, size, and severity of the brain bleed, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options include:
    • Craniotomy: This procedure involves temporarily removing a portion of the skull to access the brain and remove the blood clot, repair damaged blood vessels, or relieve pressure on the brain.
    • Minimally invasive procedures: Techniques such as endovascular coiling or embolization can be used to treat specific types of brain bleeds, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). These procedures involve accessing the blood vessels through small incisions and using coils or special substances to block off or repair the damaged vessels.
    • Decompressive hemicraniectomy: In cases where there is significant swelling and increased pressure inside the skull, a part of the skull may be removed temporarily to relieve pressure and prevent further damage.
    • Rehabilitation and supportive care: After the initial treatment, rehabilitation programs may be recommended to aid in the recovery process. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other supportive care measures can help individuals regain function and improve quality of life.

Can You Be Compensated for a Brain Bleed Injury? 

Compensation for a brain bleed injury can be pursued through various legal avenues, depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury. Personal injury lawsuits can be filed if the brain bleed resulted from the negligence or intentional harm of another party. These lawsuits aim to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, and other damages. In cases where the brain bleed injury was caused by a defective product, such as a faulty medical device or a defective vehicle component, a product liability claim can be pursued against the manufacturer or distributor of the product. Workers’ compensation benefits may also be available if the brain bleed occurred in the workplace, providing medical coverage, wage replacement, and other benefits to injured employees. To navigate these legal processes, it is advisable to consult with a brain injury attorney to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation.

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