An abrupt, excruciating headache may be a sign that something more serious lies behind the pain. There are a number of things that could be causing this discomfort, but the worst case scenario involves a hemorrhagic stroke. If the headache corresponds with nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, or a reduction of mental or physical ability, it is wise to seek immediate medical care. Any kind of stroke is nothing short of an emergency, and prompt assessment and treatment of the problem is very important.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is abrupt bleeding into or around the brain. About one-fifth of stroke victims are admitted to the hospital as a result of this hemorrhaging, while the remainder of stroke victims suffer ischemic strokes. The majority of hemorrhagic strokes take place in the brain and are called intracerebral hemorrhages. A smaller percentage of people fall victim to intraventricular hemorrhages. When an individuals suffers from a intraventricular hemorrhage, blood seeps into the gaps filled with fluid deep within the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhages take place when bleeding occurs in the constricted space between the brain and its protective membranes.
A hemorrhage with a direct effect on the internal or external parts of the brain should be taken very seriously; depending on the position and magnitude of the hematoma (loose mass of blood), the hemorrhage could potentially be fatal. Hemorrhages inside or near the brain will often cease suddenly after no more than an hour. However, bleeding may persist until the excess fluid disturbs crucial brain structures or puts pressure on healthy parts of the brain, which can result in death.
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