By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer
My colleague, another surgeon, was not seen to receive his ‘honorary Fellowship’ at a recent College of Surgeon’s Academic sessions… His wife had represented to receive on his behalf. Checking with her, she said, “He had a brain haemorrhage”. This is the third case I hear of a colleague having a similar episode and they all seem to belong to my vintage. Is it possible, that the increase incidence is due to people living longer to better living conditions, and health facilities, or neglect one’s health due to pressure at work?
Do not wait till you get one. Over 80% of stroke after brain haemorrhage is preventable, and reading this article will help you in that endeavour.
A brain haemorrhage is a type of stroke caused by bursting of an artery in the brain, causing local blood collection surrounding the ruptured vessel. This bleeding deprives the neighbouring brain cells of oxygen and the pressure caused by the bleed may kill brain cells.
The doctors call it a cerebral haemorrhage, or intracranial haemorrhage. They account for about 13% of the strokes. Another common cause of stroke is when a blood clot is released from a ruptured plaque within arteries feeding the brain, or may be from a piece of broken away plaque that travels and block a vessel in the brain. Recently, a friend of mine went totally blind in one eye due to blockage of a retinal vessel from a clot that had dislodged from a bleeding plaque.
As we grow older the inner lining of our arteries can become thicker and cause scattered bumps (plaques), mostly in the arteries closer to the heart, including the coronary arteries, carotid arteries (neck) and peripheral arteries causing blockage in the arms and legs, common among diabetics. Cholesterol seems to be part of the cause for these plaques now strongly disputed. The researchers attribute ‘Inflammation’ to be the initial cause of plaque formations.
There are genetic causes like having tiny aneurysms (bulges due to weak spots) in the brain vessels that could rupture at some stage in your life resulting in a stroke.
There are many other factors causing cerebral haemorrhage, and shall discuss as we go on.
What happens during a brain haemorrhage?
The main risk factors that could lead to rupture of brain vessels and bleed includes:
High blood pressure
Blood vessel abnormalities
Minimising risk factors should be known to prevent a recurrence.
Treat hypertension. Studies show that 80% of cerebral haemorrhage patients have a history of high blood pressure. The single most important thing you can do is control yours through diet, exercise, and medication.
Brain haemorrhage is a condition to be prevented by minimizing risk factors, as cure may result in a disability.
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