Nasal hemorrhage or nosebleeds are called epistaxis in medical terms. Positioned in the middle of the face a nose is full of blood vessels making people susceptible to nosebleeds. Although nosebleed may not be a cause for alarm in youngsters, but nosebleeds in the elderly can be life threatening. Ruptured blood vessels can cause the nose to bleed profusely.
Nosebleeds occur in old people taking anti-coagulants or blood-thinning medications like aspirin. If a patient is taking anti-coagulants, has high blood pressure or blood-clotting disorder then the bleeding will be harder to stop and may last up to twenty minutes. There are two types of nosebleeds – Anterior and Posterior.
Anterior nosebleeds originate from the lower nasal septum and occur mostly in children. The wall between the nostrils contain delicate blood vessels that receive blood from the carotid arteries, two principal arteries in the front of the neck that supply blood to the head and neck. A slight knock or bump causes these vessels to bleed that may be treated at home.
Posterior nosebleeds originate further back and higher up the nose where artery branches supply blood to the nose, which is why it is heavier. Posterior nosebleeds are very serious and require immediate medical attention. They are more common in the elderly. Causes of posterior nosebleeds are high blood pressure, calcium deficiency, cold dry climate, atherosclerosis or daily aspirin use. Such nosebleeds can be dangerous and the older the patient, the more serious is the nosebleed.
One has to be given immediate medical attention. A nosebleed can be really frightening both to the onlooker and to the one it occurs to. Most nosebleeds look much worse than they really are. Help the patient to sit down and lean slightly forward. Keeping the head above the heart slows the bleeding. Leaning forward stops the blood from going down the throat into the stomach.
The usual remedy in a hospital is to either pack the nose or cauterize the bleeding vessel. Cauterization uses a special solution or an electrical or heating device to burn the vessel to stop bleeding. The doctor numbs the nose before the procedure. Packing the nose with special gauze or inflatable latex balloon makes sure enough pressure is placed on the vessel to make it stop bleeding.
After-care is essential and the patient must avoid blowing nose after a nosebleed. Use a humidifier in cold dry climates. If one is prescribed anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) discuss concerns with physician. To prevent recurring nosebleeds avoid exerting or straining and avoid causes of occurrence.