Subdural hemorrhage describes a type of bleeding that causes irritation and pressure on the brain. Subdural hemorrhage is so named because it is in an area called the subdural space. The subdural space is the space between the surface of the brain and the dura, which is the layer of protective tissue between the brain and the skull.
What is the dura mater?
The meninges are made up of 3 layers of tissue: the pia mater, the arachnoid membrane, and the dura mater. The meninges surround the brain and spinal cord, creating a protective cushion. Also, nutrients and blood vessels pass through the meninges. A fluid called cerebrospinal fluid lubricates, protects, and nourishes the brain and spinal cord. The meninges cover the cerebrospinal fluid that flows around the brain and spinal cord.
Of the three layers of the meninges, the dura is the furthest from the brain and closest to the skull. The hard shell is also the thickest, strongest, and most protective of the three layers.
Subdural hemorrhage can be caused by a head injury, tumor, or infection, although it can occur without a known cause. Anticoagulants can increase the likelihood of subdural bleeding, especially in the elderly.
When subdural bleeding occurs for no apparent reason, it is described as spontaneous bleeding.
Subdural hemorrhages can cause many symptoms, depending on their size and specific location in the skull.
Symptoms can include any combination of the following:
- Headaches – This is the most common symptom of subdural hemorrhage because blood pressure in the brain can cause pain.
- Loss of consciousness: When the subdural hemorrhage is large, it can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain.
- Seizures: Strong pressure on the brain can disrupt normal electrical activity in the brain and lead to seizures.
- Weakness on one side of the face, arm, and / or leg: Pressure on one side of the brain can reduce force on the opposite side of the body.
- Vision changes
- Collapse or death: This is a rare consequence of a subdural hemorrhage. When there is blood near the brainstem, important functions such as breathing can be disrupted.
What to expect from a subdural hemorrhage
Subdural hemorrhage is usually caused by bleeding from a vein.
Bleeding can be slow and not cause serious symptoms right away. Over time, symptoms can develop gradually as blood puts increasing pressure on the brain from the outside.
In most cases, subdural hemorrhages are small to moderate in size and do not progress to severe symptoms. The blood itself can go away on its own. Most people recover from a subdural hemorrhage and the symptoms go away without any medical intervention.
However, the subdural hemorrhage can become large enough to press on the brain and cause severe neurological symptoms.
If the subdural hemorrhage includes a significant amount of blood, it can cause a stroke due to pressure. In severe situations, the blood can cause significant pressure, leading to unconsciousness or even death, if the blood puts pressure on vital parts of the brain stem that control respiration and other survival mechanisms.
What kind of treatment
If the bleeding is light or moderate, treatment is usually unnecessary. In general, it is recommended to avoid strenuous activity while draining the blood, which can increase the risk of head injury.
Sometimes the blood must be removed surgically.
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Subdural hemorrhage is a serious medical problem, although most people recover well. If you have a subdural hemorrhage that does not require surgery, full recovery can take months. If you've had a subdural hemorrhage that requires surgery, you may only feel a full recovery a few months after the procedure.
As you recover, you may experience fatigue, headaches, or neurological symptoms that are expected to gradually improve.