Blood Clot in Brain: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

By Dr. Rajan Shah in Centre for Neurosciences

Apr 24 , 2023 | 6 min read


A blood clot in the brain occurs when a blood vessel in your brain starts to narrow, preventing enough blood from flowing to other parts of the body. This can cause pain, seizures, headaches, and more. In some cases, blood clots can lead to permanent disability or even death.

If you're experiencing symptoms for more than 12 hours, it's important to get emergency medical attention. It's also important to know how to recognize the symptoms of a blood clot before it becomes a serious problem.

Types of Blood Clots in Brain

The human brain needs constant blood flow. A blood clot in the brain stops the flow of oxygen and glucose, causing brain death within minutes.

A blood clot in the brain is referred to as a stroke or a brain attack. A stroke happens when the brain's blood vessels burst and bleed, or if the blood flow to the brain is blocked for a few minutes.

We discuss here the types of blood clots and their outcomes:

Ischemic Stroke:

  • It occurs when a blocked artery stops oxygenated blood from reaching the brain cells
  • It is the most prevalent artery-blockage-caused stroke. Narrowing brain blood vessels cause ischemia in the vessel's supply area
  • Atherosclerosis can block blood vessels and induce an ischemic stroke


Hemorrhagic Stroke:

  • Leaks from a weakened blood vessel cause nearby tissues to stop functioning
  • Uncontrolled abnormal blood damages arterial walls
  • Damaged arterial walls adversely affect the brain cells and make the brain swell, which exerts pressure on the neighboring brain tissues

Causes of Blood Clot in Brain

The common causes of a blood clot in the brain include:

  • Being obese or gaining excessive weight: Uncontrolled weight contributes to plaque development and increases the risk of stroke
  • Age: Over the age of 55, your risk of suffering a brain stroke increases
  • Family history: The risk of having a blood clot in the brain and risk of having a brain stroke increases if your parent, grandparent, or any sibling has a history of conditions such as high blood pressure or history of stroke 
  • Inactive lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, which can trigger a stroke
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or illegal drugs: Alcohol use, smoking, and drug usage are also the major causes of blood clots in the brain

Symptoms of Blood Clot in the Brain

You can recognize the blood clot in the Brain symptoms in your body. Some common signs are:

Blurry and darkened vision: You may experience blurry and darkened vision, loss of balance, and dizziness. It may seem like everything is spinning around you.

Headaches: Headaches can last a day or two and may be accompanied by neck pain due to stiffness. If your headaches are severe, they're likely to make you feel weak and anxious. If the headaches persist for more than a week, you must talk to your doctor.

Slurred speech: If you have slurred speech, it could be a sign of a stroke that's caused by a clot in the brain. If you're experiencing slurred speech and weakness on one side of the body, consult a doctor.

Numbness: Many people experience numbness on one side of the body. It could be a sign of a stroke that's caused by a clot in the brain. If you have numbness in one entire limb, it's better to consult a doctor.

Acute paralysis: Acute paralysis can make it difficult for you to move the affected limb. It could also cause a stiff neck. This indicates that you may have a blood clot in the brain.

Trouble walking: When a blood clot occurs in the brain, you may experience trouble walking as a result of one side of your body becoming weak.

Diagnoses of Blood Clots in the Brain

Physical and neurological tests help to detect a blood clot in the brain. Here are some tests that diagnose a blood clot:

  • Blood tests that determine the blood clotting rate and blood sugar levels
  • A CT scan provides extensive information about the brain, revealing any bleeding or injury. This can also indicate other brain-related diseases that may contribute to symptoms
  • MRI tests can detect brain cell damage.
  • A cerebral angiogram provides a complete view of all arteries in the brain and neck.
  • An echocardiogram can identify the causes of a blood clot in the brain since these clots travel via the arteries to the brain and cause a stroke.

Possible Risks and Complications Related to Blood Clot in Brain

Some of the possible complications associated with blood clots in Brain are:

  • Formation of a pulmonary embolism is when a blood clot forms in the pulmonary artery and pumps it to the lungs
  • Damage to the kidneys from blood clots can lead to renal failure
  • A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs whenever a clot develops in a leg or deep arm vein
  • Blood clots typically develop during pregnancy in the pelvic or lower limb veins

Treatment of Blood Clot in Brain

Emergency IV medication: If you experience any symptoms of a blood clot in the brain, you will be given medication with an IV. The medication will break up the clot and keep it from spreading to other parts of the body.

Anticoagulants: Anticoagulants are medications that reduce the number of blood clots. This can increase your chances of a full recovery from a blood clot in the brain. 

Surgery: In some cases of a blood clot in the brain, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can help remove clotted blood and restore blood flow to the brain.

Vena cava filters: If you have a blood clot in your brain that can't be removed, a doctor could place a filter inside your vena cava. This will prevent more clots from developing.

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Is It Possible to Prevent or Avoid Blood Clots in the Brain

The most efficient strategy to prevent a blood clot in the brain is to treat its root cause. In addition, you must practice healthy lifestyle choices and manage your medical concerns to avoid a stroke.

  • Limit your intake of unhealthy foods and salt
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcoholic consumption

A blood clot in the brain is a serious condition that can lead to permanent damage or even death. The symptoms of a blood clot in the brain are mostly non-specific and include vision changes, headaches, slurred speech, weakness on one side of your body, and more. If you experience any of these Blood Clots in the Brain Symptoms then consult a doctor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it risky to have blood clots in the brain?

Without oxygen, brain tissue can die or cause severe symptoms of a blood clot in the brain. For example, a brain clot causes stroke symptoms like paralysis, leg stiffness, or weakness.

2. Are brain clots curable?

Thrombolytic therapy can enhance stroke recovery. It is the immediate choice of treatment after the onset of a stroke. Clearing the blood clot reduces the adverse effects of a stroke on the brain. Without treatment, a blood clot in the brain seems more likely to lead to severe brain damage.

3. Can one recover from a brain blood clot?

Most people stay in the hospital for three days before going home to recover, which can take up to 12 weeks.

4. Can stress induce blood clots in the brain?

Based on research, people who have experienced a clot are more likely to suffer from various mental health concerns and physical symptoms.

5. When should I seek emergency medical care?

If you prompt treatment, your chances of survival and recovery are increased. There are various receives emergency treatments, and their application depends on what type of stroke the patient has.

6. Can a person die from a stroke?

Clots might form without visible damage or not dissolve spontaneously. However, a major stroke can be fatal because it affects significant brain areas.

7. What kinds of questions do you need to ask your doctor?

After a stroke, ask your doctor about brain damage, the reason for the stroke, which part of the brain was affected, and how it can be prevented in the future.