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Celebrity Apprentice star Bret Michaels in battle for life: Brain aneurysm strikes

Bret Michaels
Wikimedia Commons

A severe headache forced Bret Michaels to cancel plans and into the hospital. The results of his CT scan revealed a serious medical and potentially fatal condition: hemorrhagic stroke. Michaels has emerged as a charismatic leader in the 2010 season of "The Celebrity Apprentice." Michaels is a type 1 diabetic thus placing him at a higher risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Michaels is being treated at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles, and is listed in critical condition. An aneurysm is a weak area in an artery which is susceptible to ballooning and rupturing with no warning. The resulting bleeding quickly increases pressure in the cranium quickly leading to pain and pressure on the brain, which is the most dangerous form of stroke.

With Michaels, the bleeding was surrounding his brain stem which threatens his entire brain, due to the vital function in the brain. The brain stem controls breathing and transports sensory information into the brain and passes motor functions to the body. Hemorrhagic stroke quickly interferes with brain functions due to pressure on the neurons. Even a small increase in pressure can result in neuron destruction and death. The normal treatment is to open the skull to relieve the pressure. Steroids are also used to counteract the swelling of stroke.

Diabetes causes severe nerve damage and weakens tissues in the heart and brain leading to increased heart and stroke events. Once a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, the risk of death by heart attack and stroke is greatly increased. Treatment by medications and lifestyle change is quite important to continued health. Exercise is the greatest lifestyle change that can be applied. 

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Vanderbilt Medical Center is a nationally ranked hospital treatment for all forms of stroke. 

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