Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | December 28, 2022 | Brain Injuries
Every year in New York state, more than 112,000 people visit emergency rooms with traumatic brain injuries, and 19,000 are hospitalized. More than 2,000 people die from those injuries every year. One of the most common complications that come with brain injuries is brain bleeds.
A brain bleed can cause severe damage, especially if left untreated. Read on to discover the symptoms of a brain bleed after a head injury and learn when you should talk to a doctor.
What Is a Brain Bleed?
Before we dive into the symptoms that can signal a brain bleed, let’s talk some about what they are. More formally known as intracranial hematomas, brain bleeds are more or less what they sound like – bleeding in the brain. These happen most often after some sort of head trauma, such as a car accident, a bicycle accident, or a fall.
There are three basic categories of brain bleeds:
- Subdural hematoma – A bleed between your brain and the protective layers covering it. These bleeds can be acute, subacute, or chronic, categories that refer to how fast the bleed is. Acute is the most serious subcategory, while chronic bleeds may take weeks or months to show symptoms.
- Epidural hematoma – A bleed between the protective layers covering your brain and your skull.
- Intracerebral hematoma – A bleed within the tissue of your brain
Each of these bleed types can be very serious – it all depends on the size and specific location of the bleed.
There are a few key symptoms you may experience during the early stages of a brain bleed. Depending on what sort of injury you suffer, you may start immediately showing symptoms of a brain bleed after hitting your head.
Early brain bleed symptoms can include
- Headaches that get worse over time
- Unequal pupil size
- Slurred speech
- Loss of movement, especially on one side of your body. This paralysis typically happens on the opposite side of your body that the brain injury is on. So if you hit the left side of your head, you might lose movement in the right side of your body.
It can also take weeks or even months for these symptoms to appear.
If you ignore the symptoms we just discussed, blood can start to build up in your brain. Your skull is a closed system, so that blood won’t have anywhere to go, and a mass can start to form. Left untreated, this mass can start to push on your brain, causing permanent damage and even – in the most severe cases – death.
Later-stage brain bleed symptoms can include:
- Unconsciousness and coma
Eventually, if a brain bleed goes untreated for long enough, it can lead to death.
When to See a Doctor
As we mentioned, depending on the pace of your bleed, it can take weeks or even months for symptoms of a brain bleed after a fall to appear. And if you’re taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, even small bumps on the head can cause bleeding. You might bump your head getting out of the car in February and not start getting headaches until April or May.
Any time you experience head trauma, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. This is particularly important if you’re on blood thinners or if you’re a hemophiliac, and it’s absolutely critical any time you pass out from a head injury. The sooner you can catch these bleeds, the better your long-term outcome will be.
If you start having persistent headaches that get worse over time or if you experience unrelenting vomiting, talk to your doctor. You should also get checked if you start experiencing weakness, blurred vision, or unsteadiness. These symptoms usually indicate something is wrong, even if it doesn’t end up being a brain bleed.
The good news is that, if you catch a brain bleed early enough, your doctors can treat it before it does too much damage.
In some cases, if a bleed is small enough and stops after a period of time, it may not need treatment other than careful monitoring. If you’re on blood thinners, your doctor might need to adjust your medications to reduce your risk from a brain bleed.
Oftentimes, larger bleeds require surgery to fix. If the blood has stayed liquid and hasn’t clotted, a surgeon may be able to make a small hole in your skull and suction it out. If the blood has clotted, they may have to remove part of your skull to get the clot out and prevent further damage to your brain.
Getting Compensation for Your Injury
Brain bleeds can be very dangerous, and knowing the early symptoms could save your life.
Never ignore persistent worsening headaches, ongoing vomiting, or loss of motion. And talk to your doctor any time you experience head trauma, especially if you lose consciousness in the accident.
If your accident was somebody else’s fault, you could be entitled to compensation. We can help you get a settlement package that will cover your medical bills, any loss of income, and the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. Contact one of our New York personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.