Hemorrhagic strokes account for approximately 13% of all strokes. If you experience a hemorrhagic stroke, it means a vessel supplying blood to your brain ruptures and causes bleeding. When an artery bleeds into your brain, oxygen and necessary nutrients are unable to reach your brain cells. Further brain damage can occur because of the pressure build-up in surrounding tissues.
There are two main types of hemorrhagic strokes:
- Intracerebral hemorrhages occur when there is bleeding from the blood vessels within your brain.
In addition to the common stroke risk factors, understand the unique risk factors for an intracerebral hemorrhage:
Subarachnoid hemorrhages (SAH) occur when there is bleeding in-between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain (called the meninges). This area is referred to as the subarachnoid space.
- Hypertension - high blood pressure is the most common cause of a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Cerebral cavernous malformations – occurs when blood vessels do not form correctly in the brain. Capillaries group together and bleed more easily. This group of tiny blood vessels is called a lesion. If the lesion bursts and bleeds into the brain, it can cause a stroke.
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) – a disorder where groups of blood vessels form incorrectly leading to an unusually tangled web. AVMs are rare, but may cause a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF) – occur when abnormal connections form between arteries and veins within the dura (outer membrane surrounding the brain). These are typically formed during a surgery or injury. DAVF can cause blood clots to form and lead to a stroke.
In addition to the common stroke risk factors, what are subarachnoid hemorrhages often caused by?
- Cerebral aneurysm – a bulging weakened area in the wall of the blood vessels of the brain. Aneurysms can continue to increase in size and progressively weaken the artery wall. If it bursts, uncontrolled bleeding may result.
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) – a disorder where groups of blood vessels form incorrectly and into an unusually tangled web. AVMs are rare, but can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
What are the warning signs?
- Sudden severe headache, typically described as the worst headache of your life
If you suspect you or a loved-one is having a
stroke get medical help immediately. Call 911.