A traumatic blow to the head, such as may occur due to a car accident or fall, can cause intracranial hemorrhage. This is a medical term for bleeding that occurs inside the skull. It can be very serious because there is no way for the blood to drain away. Therefore, it remains in the skull where it puts pressure on the brain until surgery can remove it. Pressure on the brain can lead to permanent damage. Therefore, intracranial hemorrhage is a medical emergency.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is a specific type of intracranial hemorrhage that involves bleeding within the brain itself. The term for this is cerebral hemorrhage, and it can be dangerous in two different ways. While any type of intracranial hemorrhage can put pressure on the brain, bleeding in the brain may mean that the neurons are not receiving their usual supply of blood. Blood carries oxygen to the brain, and neurons that do not receive oxygen start to die off.
Symptoms of intracranial hemorrhage include the following:
- Lethargy or changes in consciousness
- Slurred speech and difficulty understanding words
- Loss of coordination/balance
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vision changes
- Weakness or paralysis, usually on only one side of the body
These symptoms may be mild at first and worsen as more blood pools inside the skull. Short-term treatment involves surgery to remove the collected blood. It may be necessary to undergo physical therapy in the long term to counteract the effect of any damage to the brain that took place as a result of the hemorrhage. Prompt treatment may mean better results, so it is important to be able to recognize the early symptoms of intracranial hemorrhage.