EAR, NOSE & THROAT
Nosebleeds are such a common phenomenon that most of us are no longer freaked out by their occurrence. Anytime blood is involved, it can create feelings of queasiness. Blood runs through the blood vessels. The three types of blood vessels are capillaries, veins, and arteries. A nosebleed normally results from trauma. As familiar as nosebleeds are, they can be caused by many different things. Nosebleeds are placed into two categories depending on the source of the bleeding. A nosebleed is normally not taken seriously, but it can be a result of an underlying condition.
Blood vessels travel throughout the whole body. It makes the body viable. Without blood, the body could not survive. There are even blood vessels in the nose. The blood vessels rest on the surface of the nose. Trauma or a cut in the nose can cause bleeding. Nosebleeds are categorized as either anterior or posterior nosebleeds. Anterior and posterior are positional characteristics and describes the location of the blood vessel causing the nosebleed.
More often than not the nosebleed you typically have is an anterior nosebleed. Anterior nosebleeds result from a broken vessel in the front of the nose. These nosebleeds do not last long and stop relatively quickly. They are controllable. Posterior nosebleeds arise from an artery in the back of the nose. Arteries, the largest of the blood vessels, cause more excessive bleeding. They are harder to control and in most cases requires hospital admission. The elderly are more susceptible to posterior nosebleeds.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
Nosebleeds can be a result of but not limited to factors like age, weather, and trauma. Nosebleeds are prevalent in the winter months. If you live in a dry climate, you may also notice a higher rate of nosebleeds. The dry air leaves the inside of the nose extremely dry and more susceptible to nosebleeds. The nose is similar to the skin. When your skin is dry, it is easier to have cuts and bleed. When the inside of the nose is dry, any irritation from blowing your nose or even a slight scratch can lead to bleeding.
Age plays a role in nosebleeds. Children and elderly are more susceptible to nosebleeds. Children are known for picking their nose. Their persistent nose picking makes them more likely to cut the inside of their nose leading to anterior nosebleeds. They also may blow their nose too hard and cause a burst in the blood vessels. Elderly are more susceptible to nosebleeds for health reasons. Elderly typically struggle with high blood pressure which can lead to a burst in the blood vessels of the nose. A lot of elderly are on a daily aspirin regimen which may also cause nosebleeds.
Trauma and injury are common causes of nosebleeds. If you have ever been hit in the nose, you may find yourself bleeding. An injury can be self-inflicted and totally out of your control. A nosebleed can happen even if the nose is not broken. If a force hits the nose hard enough to break the blood vessels, it will bleed. Nosebleeds from trauma need medical attention. If you notice swelling or a change in your nose, it may be a sign of a break. A broken nose needs to be fixed, so it does not heal abnormally. A shift in the nose can result in difficulty breathing and can even lead to sleep apnea. An uncommon factor of a nosebleed could be the symptom of a tumor in the sinus cavity. It is not likely, but if you feel a lot of pain, pressure, and constant nosebleeds, you should see a physician.
How To Properly Treat Nosebleeds
Most nosebleeds can be treated at home. When you were younger, your parents may have told you to tilt your head back to stop the bleeding. That is no longer treatment for nosebleeds. Tilting your head back only leads to the blood going into your stomach, and it may cause nausea and vomiting. Instead of tilting your head back, you should tilt it forward to prevent the blood from being swallowed. It is also important to remain calm. Elevating your blood pressure will not help the situation. While you are leaning forward, pinch the nose. The pinching will cause the blood to clot faster, which also makes the bleeding stop quicker.
If the bleeding continues or you feel yourself becoming dizzy or lightheaded, you need to seek medical attention immediately. You must also seek attention if you are vomiting or coughing up blood. Take notice of fevers or repeated nosebleeds. After a nosebleed, be sure to be careful not to cause another nosebleed. The nose is already sensitive, and now the blood vessels need time to heal. Be sure to keep the inside of the nose moist and try to stay away from blowing your nose and, if possible, sneezing in the next 24 hours after a nosebleed.
Do not be alarmed if you suddenly experience a nosebleed. Nosebleeds happen easily because the blood vessels sit on the surface of your nose. Being cognizant of factors that lead to nosebleeds is good. If you live in a cold or dry climate, keep your nose moist. Be careful with blowing your nose as well as cleaning your nose. Try not to scratch the nose surface. It is not necessary to run to the ER because of a nosebleed. The only time medical attention is needed is when you begin to experience other abnormal symptoms not typical of a nosebleed or have uncontrollable bleeding. Many times nosebleeds are controllable. Remember to stay calm, keep your head forward, and pinch your nose.
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