Bleeding in the brain

Bleeding in the brain

The symptoms of a brain hemorrhage can vary. They depend on the location of the bleeding, the severity of the bleeding, and the amount of tissue affected. Symptoms tend to develop suddenly. They may progressively worsen.

Brain symptoms and causes

There are several risk factors and causes of brain hemorrhages. The most common include:

  • Head trauma. Injury is the most common cause of bleeding in the brain for those younger than age 50.
  • High blood pressure. This chronic condition can, over a long period of time, weaken blood vessel walls. Untreated high blood pressure is a major preventable cause of brain hemorrhages.
  • Aneurysm. This is a weakening in a blood vessel wall that swells. It can burst and bleed into the brain, leading to a stroke.
  • Blood vessel abnormalities. (Arteriovenous malformations) Weaknesses in the blood vessels in and around the brain may be present at birth and diagnosed only if symptoms develop. 
  • Amyloid angiopathy. This is an abnormality of the blood vessel walls that sometimes occurs with aging and high blood pressure. It may cause many small, unnoticed bleeds before causing a large one.
  • Blood or bleeding disorders. Hemophilia and sickle cell anemia can both contribute to decreased levels of blood platelets and clotting. Blood thinners are also a risk factor. 
  • Liver disease. This condition is associated with increased bleeding in general.
  • Brain tumors.