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Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

What is Intracerebral hemorrhage?

An intracerebral hemorrhage occurs after a blood vessel bursts in the brain, flooding brain tissue with blood. The excess blood in the brain causes a pressure buildup, which can damage brain cells.

In cases where blood builds up too rapidly, a person may pass out or die. An intracerebral hemorrhage can occur in a few different areas of the brain. The most common locations include:

  • Basal ganglia
  • Cerebellum
  • Brain stem
  • Cortex

Some of the initial symptoms may include

  • Weakness
  • Partial paralysis of the body
  • Headache
  • Confusion

It is vital for a person with symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treating an intracerebral hemorrhage involves a rapid response to stop the bleeding and potentially drain the blood. Depending on the amount of damage and where the hemorrhage is located in the brain, a person may require long-term care.

How common is Intracerebral hemorrhage?

Intracerebral hemorrhage occurs at all ages. The average age is lower than for ischemic stroke. Less common than ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes make up about 12 percent of all strokes. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of Intracerebral hemorrhage?

The common symptoms of Intracerebral hemorrhage are:

  • Sudden weakness, tingling, or paralysis in your face, arm, or leg, especially if it occurs on only one side of your body
  • Sudden onset of severe headache
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble with vision in one or both eyes
  • Loss of balance and coordination, dizziness
  • Trouble with language skills (reading, writing, speaking, understanding)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Apathy, sleepiness, lethargy, loss of consciousness
  • Confusion, delirium

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

This is a serious medical condition. If you or someone near you is having these symptoms, call an ambulance immediately.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes Intracerebral hemorrhage?

High blood pressure is the most common cause of ICH. In younger people, another common cause is abnormally formed blood vessels in the brain.
Other causes include:

  • Head injury or trauma
  • Ruptured cerebral aneurysm (a weak spot in a blood vessel that bursts)
  • Arteriovenous malformation (a grouping of malformed blood vessels in your brain that disrupts normal blood flow)
  • Use of blood thinners
  • Bleeding tumors
  • Cocaine or methamphetamine use (which can cause severe hypertension and lead to hemorrhage)
  • Bleeding disorders (for example, hemophilia or sickle cell anemia)

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Intracerebral hemorrhage?

Advancing age and hypertension are the most important risk factors for ICH. Approximately 70% of patients experience long-term deficits after an ICH.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Intracerebral hemorrhage diagnosed?

If you have some symptoms of ICH, a doctor will perform a neurological exam. Imaging tests determine if you’re having an ischemic stroke (blockage) or a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding).

Diagnostic testing for ICH may include a CT scan. This type of test creates images of your brain, which can confirm bleeding, and also assess for other evidence of trauma to your head.

An MRI scan may help your doctor see your brain more clearly to better identify the cause of the bleeding. An angiogram uses X-ray technology to take pictures of blood flow within an artery, and can reveal any abnormalities with the blood vessels themselves, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations.

Blood tests can identify immune system disorders, inflammation, and blood clotting problems that can cause bleeding in your brain.

How is Intracerebral hemorrhage treated?

There are two types of treatment for an intracerebral hemorrhage: immediate and long-term. In general, a person will have a better outcome if they are treated within 3 hours of the bleeding starting. The longer a person goes without treatment, the more likely they are to experience serious complications, including death.

Immediate treatment for an intracerebral hemorrhage usually includes controlling the blood pressure and the bleeding. Sometimes it may require surgery.

During surgery, a doctor will remove the blood clot, repair any damaged arteries, and relieve pressure on the brain. A person will also require medication to treat immediate symptoms, such as a headache and high blood pressure. A doctor will also prescribe anti-seizure medication, which may be taken for months or even years.

For long-term care, a person may require medication to control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of a future hemorrhage.
Additional treatment will vary depending on the amount of damage to the brain. Occupational therapy may be required to help them regain muscle control and reduce dependency on others. Speech therapy may be required to enable a person to regain the ability to communicate with others.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Intracerebral hemorrhage?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Intracerebral hemorrhage:

  • Not smoking
  • Treating heart disease
  • Treating high blood pressure
  • Keeping diabetes under control
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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