ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Subdural Hematoma - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Updated on December 1, 2013

Pictures

What is Subdural Hematoma?

This is where blood accumulates outside your brain. When you see the word "hematoma" this refers to blood that accumulates under the surface of your skin. When a person has a hematoma it can happen in various parts of your body. Where it is located is how it is categorized. When a person has a hematoma it will be found within your skull. It is found under the tough outer layer of your membranes that surround your spinal cord and brain called the "dura mater".

The subdural hematoma can be broken down into two categories which are:

  • Acute when the bleeding takes place at a quick rate and can happen immediately or within a few hours. This is the most serious form of a subdural hematoma.
  • Chronic is when you have this type of subdural hematoma the pools of blood or blood clots developing over a time.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a subdural hematoma may be related to impaired thought processes, changes in the level of consciousness, or loss of sensory or motor function. Some of the other common symptoms may include:

  • Speech that is slurred
  • Having a headache
  • Not having the ability to speak
  • Coma or loss of consciousness even briefly
  • Numbness that can be in different areas of your body
  • Having a seizure
  • Having problems with your vision
  • Weakness
  • Coordination or balance that might be impaired
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness

Symptoms that could be an indication of a life-threatening condition:

  • A change in the level of alertness or consciousness like not responsive or passing out.
  • A change in your mental status or having a sudden change in behavior like delirium, delusions, or lethargy.
  • Head trauma
  • Inability to move a part of your body.
  • Having a severe headache

Symptoms in an infant or small child that may be life-threatening:

  • Displaying unusually irritability or fussiness
  • Lethargy or poor sleeping
  • Feeding poorly
  • High pitched cries
  • Changes in head shape or size

Some people who have a chronic subdural hematoma may not have any symptoms at all. The symptoms of a subdural hematoma that a person has will usually depend on the rate of bleeding. For example:

  • In a head injury that has sudden bleeding that is severe the person could immediately become unconsciousness and go into a coma.
  • In a head injury the person for a few days may appear okay but then become slowly confused and in a few days become unconscious. This is because the bleeding rate is slower which causes the subdural hematoma to slowly enlarge.
  • If the subdural hematoma is slow growing there may not be any symptoms that are noticeable for fourteen days or longer after the start of the bleeding.

In addition, they symptoms can vary from person to person depending not only on the size and rate of bleeding but also on any medical conditions and their age.

Causes

A subdural hematoma is usually caused from an injury to the head that can happen because of an accident, a fall, an assault, or a car accident. When your head has a sudden blow it tears your blood vessels which are beside the exterior of your brain, which is an acute subdural hematoma. You are more likely to develop a subdural hematoma if you are on blood thinners or have some type of bleeding disorder, such as with their blood clotting, in which even a minor injury could cause one. When you have a chronic subdural hematoma you have bleeding in the subdural space caused by the small veins on the outer surface of your brain tearing. This type of subdural hematoma is the one that you may not have any symptoms for days or even weeks. The people who are more at risk for a chronic subdural hematoma are the elderly because as you get older your brain starts to shrink some and as a result these small veins are more vulnerable to tearing because they are stretched more.

When a person has an acute subdural hematoma they usually develop from a:

  • A blow to your head
  • Falling
  • A car accident

When a person has a chronic subdural hematoma they usually develop from:

  • Head injuries that are repeated or mild such as from repeated falls, especially in the elderly.
  • No apparent causes sometimes.

Treatment

If a subdural hematoma appears to be getting larger the surgeon may opt to drilling "burr holes" into your skull so the surgeon can suction the blood out to relieve the pressure that is being exerted on your brains by the excess blood. The holes are drilled over the subdural space. If the subdural hematoma should develop after surgery the blood would also have to be drained.

In addition to the surgical procedures to drain the excess blood from the subdural hematoma the physician may prescribe certain pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications to help with the symptoms. Which medications would be prescribed would depend on the types of symptoms a person is having and how severe the subdural hematoma was. If the person was suffering from seizures then the physician would prescribe anti-convulsion medication.

Many times alcoholics are at more of a risk for developing subdural hematoma so they would have to refrain from drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. If you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners and experience any type of head injury you should see your physician to see if you have or are developing a subdural hematoma.

Sometimes a subdural hematoma may require emergency surgery in order to help decrease the swelling in your brain and medication to help control any seizures that a person may have from the subdural hematoma. Your physician may prescribe a diuretic to help reduce the swelling in your brain. If there are blood clots you may have to have surgery to remove them. After suffering from a subdural hematoma your physician may send you to rehabilitation to help improve your functional ability and strengthen your body.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      4 years ago from USA

      This was very informative and interesting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)