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A brain hemorrhage, or hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts, causing bleeding into brain tissues. It is a life-threatening medical emergency; quick treatment can slow or stop the bleeding, minimizing damage. Brain hemorrhage warning signs and symptoms can begin suddenly and, according to the American Heart Association, may grow progressively worse or appear to pass quickly 13.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Sudden Headache

The most common and most obvious sign of a hemorrhagic stroke is the sudden appearance of an intense headache. According to the National Stroke Association, patients commonly describe this as the "worst" headache ever experienced 1. The headache usually begins suddenly when the aneurysm ruptures, and is typically located in one spot, above and behind one eye.

Changes in Vision

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A brain hemorrhage typically causes changes in vision. Patients may report double-vision, blurred vision or the inability to tolerate light. According to the American Heart Association, symptoms often begin in one eye, though they may move to both eyes as the hemorrhage continues 13.

Numbness or Weakness

A brain hemorrhage may limit the brain's ability to control one side of the body. Often, one half of the face may appear stiff or feel numb. In severe cases, this numbness and stiffness can affect half of the body. When evaluating a patient for a possible brain hemorrhage, medical personnel will often test the strength of both arms and legs, searching for differences between the two sides of the body.

  • A brain hemorrhage may limit the brain's ability to control one side of the body.

Difficulty Speaking or Understanding Language

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Patients experiencing a brain hemorrhage may become confused and struggle to communicate. They may have difficulty speaking due to neurological effects and struggle to understand speech as well.

Dizziness and Loss of Motor Control

A patient suffering from a brain hemorrhage may be unable to walk or move on his own. He may lose balance or coordination, or report that his feet feel “stuck” and are unable to move. People who can move will often walk with a heavy, uneven gait and appear to be dragging one leg.