During an intracerebral hemorrhage, the volume of blood amassing in the brain often causes side effects similar to those brought on by ischemic strokes. These may include unexpected weakness or loss of feeling in a particular area or entire side of the body, problems using language to communicate, sudden confusion, and difficulty seeing out of one eye or across 50 percent of the field of vision. A stroke victim may even be oblivious to his or her own impairment. As opposed to an ischemic stroke, an intracerebral hemorrhage has a greater likelihood of increasing the severity of the symptoms as blood continues to gather. Someone who suffers a hemorrhagic stroke has a significant chance of experiencing a headache, nausea, or vomiting shortly after the hemorrhage begins.
The extent to which the brain's functions become impaired is primarily based on the location and amount of bleeding. Bleeding deep within one hemisphere of the brain may cause a loss of strength on the opposite side of the body. It may even cause numbness and vision impairment on the same side. If the hemorrhage takes place in the brain stem, the victim may enter a comatose state, feel weak in all extremities, and have difficulty with eye movements.
A hemorrhage in the cerebellum will trigger symptoms such as vomiting and deterioration of motor skills to the point that the victim becomes incapable of walking or even standing. Slurred speech and double vision may also be an issue. The expansion of blood does not alter these symptoms until pressure is applied to the brain stem. At this juncture, the patient may enter a coma, and surgeons will be unable to filter out the blood and reverse the ill effects. The very brief window of time before a state of alertness transitions to an irrevocable coma clarifies why it is essential for a stroke victim to seek medical attention rapidly and for physicians to take all symptoms associated with strokes (e.g., vomiting, loss of coordination) into consideration prior to settling on a diagnosis. Timely brain scans can provide physicians with the information necessary to make a final assessment and develop a treatment plan.
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