Depending on their location and severity, blood clots in the brain may be easily treated, or fatal. In addition to the seriousness of the clots, and where they are found, treatment success also depends on how quickly the clot is detected and on the venous anatomy of the person who has the clots.
Blood Clot Location
The severity of a blood clot is in part determined by its location. If it is found on the dominant side of your brain, it will likely cause more damage, since that side has more blood flowing through it.
Blood clots in the brain are often caused by an injury to the blood vessels in that area. Symptoms of brain blood clots include headaches, lack of coordination, dizziness and difficulties in speaking. If you have these and other symptoms, seek medical attention.
A blood clot found in the brain may cause Ischemic stroke, caused by the blockage of an artery that carries blood to the brain. This starves a part of the brain of nutrients and oxygen.
Blood clots in the brain also cause the buildup of carbon dioxide and cellular waste, since the brain cannot clear that waste as it normally does. This may cause the death of the cells close to the blockage, and the neurons in that area may not work any longer, causing damage to the entire body. If you have ANY suspicions that you might have a blood clot in your brain, seek immediate medical assistance.
Blood Clots in Brain – Causes
Travelling blood clots – Blood clots can travel from other body parts into blood vessels that lead to the brain, which causes a blockage that may lead to a cerebral embolism or embolic stroke. Travelling clots also cause frequent damage to other body parts before they even reach the brain.
Trauma to the neck, head or brain or head injuries – These can cause clots to form within the brain. They are brought about when bleeding occurs in between the brain and skull. The body naturally forms a clot, to slow the bleeding, which pressures the brain tissue in the area. Head trauma can also cause blood clots that originally formed outside the brain to break loose and lodge themselves inside the brain, which could cause Ischemic stroke.
Inflammation in veins – Inflammation in superficial veins may also increase your risk of developing blood clots. A vein damaged by high trauma injury may become inflamed. Bacterial infections in veins can also cause that type of inflammation, reducing blood flow to the area surrounding the infection. The areas that are damaged will have a greater risk of leakage, which results in blood clots. If the area becomes inflamed, that blood clot could cut off the supply of blood to surrounding cells.
Hardening of arteries – Hardening or narrowing of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis, may increase your vulnerability to the development of blood clots in the brain. Hardened or narrow arteries may tear as they are pumping blood. This causes clots to form in damaged areas, to avoid the leakage of blood into the rest of the body. Those clots may cut off the flow of blood to that narrowed artery, which causes damage in the cells surrounding it.
Oral contraceptive use – If you’re a woman who uses oral contraceptives, your risk may be greater for blood clotting, in the brain and elsewhere. If you have already had a blood clot, are over 35 years of age, or you smoke, your risk is higher for the development of blood clots.
Blood Clots in the Brain – Symptoms
There are various symptoms you may experience if you have blood clots in the brain. We’ll describe them below:
Difficulties in Speaking – your words may begin to slur, or you may have speaking difficulty. This is especially noticeable in clots on the left side of your brain.
Headaches– Headaches that are associated with blood clots will generally be located on the same side as the clot. Sneezing or coughing can make them worse, and the headaches may impair physical activity or movement of the head over time.
Dizziness– You may experience bouts of dizziness, although they are not usually continuous. They can even be accompanied by temporary episodes of blindness.
Coordination Loss – You may find that you cannot move with the level of coordination to which you are accustomed. You may not be able to transfer things from your right to left or left to right hand as usual.
Paralysis– You may have one side of the body become suddenly paralyzed if you are experiencing a blood clot in the brain. Your face, arm and leg will be the most affected.
Seizures– Seizures brought on by blood clots may last for two minutes. If your seizures are longer, it could be a sign of a condition that is even more serious.
Changes in Personality– Blood clots in the brain may cause an altered personality from your normal state. You may feel manic suddenly, or if you are normally energetic, you may become suddenly subdued.
Confusion– You may feel like thinking takes longer, or that you’re not thinking at your normal capacity. You may undergo confusion or feel like it’s taking you too long to understand things.
Ischemic Attack– This attack is also called a mini-stroke. It causes dysfunction on just one side of your body. If it is allowed to escalate, it may become an actual stroke.
Depression– You may develop sudden depression, which leads to a check for brain clots, to make sure that all parts of your brain are getting enough oxygen.
Blood Clots in the Brain – Treatments
If you believe you have a blood clot in the brain, you must seek out immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are alone if you even feel as though you might be having a stroke.
A CT scan or MRI will be used in diagnosing the presence of a blood clot and the problem that caused its appearance.
You may receive anti-coagulants like warfarin or aspirin, which will help in dissolving the clot. After you recover, you may be placed on a daily dose of aspirin to prevent new clots. If you are at high risk for hypertension, you may not be able to take anti-coagulants, as they may interfere with hypertension protection.
With some blood clots in the brain, you may require surgery to remove the clot. A surgeon can also open arteries and scape them clear of all plaque, which reduces the chance of additional clots. If you are at risk for the development of more clots, the surgeon may insert a tissue plasminogen activator into a vein. This releases clot-busting drugs into your body, to keep you from having a stroke.