For those of us living with a brain AVM or who have a loved one living with a brain AVM, it is important from time to time to review the signs and symptoms of a possible AVM rupture (brain hemorrhage/hemorrhagic stroke). This information is presented not to frighten you, but to help you to be prepared.
The symptoms of a brain hemorrhage can vary. Symptoms may develop suddenly or over time. They may progressively worsen or suddenly appear.
If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing a rupture. Because ruptures may be serious or even life-threatening, you should call 911 in the United States, 101 in the UK, or the number to dial for emergency help where you live.
Symptoms of a rupture may include:• A sudden severe headache (“worst headache of your life”)
• A first-ever or unusual seizure
• Weakness in an arm or leg
• Nausea or vomiting
• Decreased alertness or lethargy
• Vision changes
• Tingling or numbness
• Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
• Difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty reading or writing
• Loss of fine motor skills, coordination, or balance
• An abnormal sense of taste
• Loss of consciousness Many of these symptoms may also be caused by conditions other than a rupture, but let emergency care sort out the whys and the wherefores. Don’t waste time trying to sort out for yourself what is happening.
After you have phoned for emergency care, you can also try these simple tests to look for signs of stroke:
1. “Smile and show me your teeth.” The "smile test" is used to check for one-sided facial weakness, a classic sign of stroke. If the smile is lopsided, it could be a sign of rupture.
2. “Close your eyes and raise your arms.” If both arms are not raised to the same height, it may be a sign of arm weakness.
3. “Repeat after me: ‘Don't cry over spilled milk.’ ” Ask the patient to repeat a simple sentence to check for slurring of speech, another classic sign of a stroke.
Ruptures are serious and should be attended to right away. But, please know that many of our members who have experienced ruptures are alive and well and contributing to our community today.(adapted from WebMD http://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-hemorrhage-bleeding-causes-symptoms-treatments and http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20030213/got-minute-you-could-diagnose-stroke)