What do people mean when they say "swelling of the brain"?

Expert Answers
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brain swelling is also known as brain edema or elevated intracranial pressure. Swelling is a response that the body has to many different kinds of injuries or illnesses. Brain swelling is a very serious condition that can result in death if not treated very quickly.

The brain is the body's control system. Because it is nestled very snuggly in the skull, treatment can be very difficult. Because of the tight quarters that the brain is kept in, there is not much room for the brain to swell. Swelling in the brain can be specific to one location, or it can be throughout the entire brain.

There are many reasons that the brain may swell:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injury
  2. Ischemic Strokes
  3. Brain hemorrhages and strokes
  4. Infections
  5. Tumors
  6. High Altitudes

There are also many symptoms of brain swelling which include:

  1. Headache
  2. Neck pain
  3. Dizziness
  4. Vomiting/Nausea
  5. Memory loss
  6. Difficulty in speech
  7. Seizures

Treatment of brain swelling varies. It can be in the form of oxygen therapy, IV fluids, medication, or surgery.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Swelling of the brain is when the cerebral tissue expands for some reason. This is due to many different disease states and or trauma like CVA, or aneurysm. If the brain swells the person is said to have an encephalopathy.

The cranium protects the brain, when swelling occurs the brain has no room to expand, this causes increased intracranial pressure which, if left untreated causes brain tissue herniation and death.

Treatment by craniotomy is aimed at decreasing the intracranial pressure. Patients are also given massive doses of steroid medications to try to decrease the pressure.