LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

How To Tell The Difference Between A Regular Headache And Ruptured Brain Aneurysm

Date March 30, 2018 15:33

When a headache is not just a headache

Most of the time, headaches aren’t too severe and go away after a short time. But when is a headache a serious cause for concern, and when does it need emergency treatment? One of such situations is a ruptured brain aneurysm. Aneurysm is a bulge on the wall of an artery which forms when an area of a blood vessel becomes weakened.

Brain aneurysms rarely cause symptoms, unless they rupture (most of the time, they don’t). But if an aneurysm bursts, it can cause massive brain damage and even death. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms that distinguish a ruptured brain aneurysm from a regular headache.

READ ALSO: Silent Stroke: A Common Problem That Often Goes Undetected

Symptoms of brain aneurysm

Aneurysms that haven’t burst rarely produce symptoms. But if they do, they may include the following:

  • visual problems, such as vision loss or double vision;
  • pain in the eye area;
  • limited eye movement;
  • numbness or weakness that affects one side of the face;
  • loss of balance;
  • trouble speaking;
  • headaches;
  • concentration and memory problems.

If you have the symptoms described above, see your doctor right away. They may not be caused by an aneurysm, but they still warrant prompt medical attention.

READ ALSO: 6 Kinds Of Pain That Warrant Medical Attention

If an aneurysm bursts, the resulting headache is very intense. Most people who survived brain aneurysm rupture describe it as the worst headache they’ve had in their lives.

This and other symptoms appear suddenly and include the following:

  • nausea and vomiting;
  • neck stiffness and pain;
  • visual disturbances;
  • sensitivity to light;
  • confusion and drowsiness;
  • weakness and numbness, usually on one side of the body;
  • dilated pupils;
  • seizures;
  • loss of consciousness.

If you or someone around you get such symptoms, call the ambulance right away.

Who is at a higher risk of developing a brain aneurysm?

Some people are more likely than others to develop a brain aneurysm. Risk factors include the following:

It’s estimated that 1 to 5 percent of people develop brain aneurysms, but rupture happens in a very small fraction of these cases.

Even though ruptured brain aneurysms are rare, it’s useful to know their symptoms. Knowing them, you’ll be able to get medical help in time and increase the chances of survival.

Source: Women's Health, The Independent, NHS UK

READ ALSO: Cerebrovascular Disease: 4 Main Types, And A Few Tips To Lower The Risk Of Developing It


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.