Exercise and Hemorrhage: Lower Your Risks

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Dec 042013

exercise-headacheExercise is a good thing, right? You’re always told to get out and get some. The more, the better. Well, it’s not always the best thing for your body. Exercise works by introducing acute stress to the body. This stress temporarily overwhelmed normal bodily functions.

The immune system kicks up into high gear to deal with the oxidative damage and stress. Then, the body adapts so that it’s better-equipped to deal with future, similar, stresses. But, sometimes, people overdo it – called “overtraining.” If you exercise too much, you could cause haemorrhaging.

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage

Strenuous exercise can lead to exercise-induced headaches. While this is normally not cause for concern, an exercise session that’s a little too strenuous can cause a potentially life-threatening condition. The haemorrhaging takes place between the brain and the membrane that protects and covers the brain.

Exercise headaches typically last 24 hours, but some last days. If you get a headache during or after exercise, and it doesn’t go away on its own, it’s time to see the doctor. In fact, if you ever get a headache during or after exercise, see the doctor just to rule this out.

Sometimes, certain breathing techniques, like the valsalva manoeuvre, cause excessive pressure to build up and can make you light-headed. Other times, it can cause a headache that starts in the base of the skull, radiating upward.

You want to make sure that the headaches are not serious and that it’s safe for you to continue your workouts.

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

This type of haemorrhaging is less serious, but can still be cause for concern. It’s when the tiny blood vessels in your eyes burst due to high pressure caused by something like the valsalva manoeuvre. It’s not life-threatening, but it will make you look like you’ve got red-eye.

Fortunately, it’s treatable. Just visit NextdayLenses.com or another retailer that sells eye drops and use them on a regular basis. You’ll be back to normal in no time.

What Are The Symptoms?

Some of the symptoms of haemorrhaging include either a primary or secondary headache, blurred or double vision, and neck rigidity. You may also experience loss of consciousness in extreme cases. Finally, your headache may last for more than a day – sometimes a couple of days.

Subconjunctival haemorrhage is easy to diagnose. You’ll have red veins running through your eyes – almost as if you were bloodshot.

How To Treat It

Your doctor must diagnose you with subarachnoid haemorrhage. The ruptured blood vessels are usually restricted using a metal clip during an invasive procedure. That’s right, you’ll probably need brain surgery to correct the problem, which is why it’s so serious. Operating on the brain is a dangerous proposition in and of itself.

If brain surgery is deemed too risky for you given your current health, you’ll be given an endovascular embolization. During this procedure, a tube is inserted through your groin and travels up to your brain. The tube delivers coils to the aneurysm which causes the blood to clot, thus reducing blood flow.

So, should you stop exercising because of the risk of brain damage? Not at all. The risks are usually high with people who overtrain, don’t eat right, don’t stay hydrated during their workout, and have existing health problems. Get yourself checked out by a doctor and, once you’re cleared, get in the gym.

Simon Walters researches sports medicine. He often writes about common injuries on sports and health blogs.