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- “Game of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke opened up about the two brain aneurysms that brought her close to death in an essay for the New Yorker.
- Clarke shared the details of her story in hopes of raising awareness about the dangers of brain aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhages.
- A brain aneurysm occurs when the wall of one of the blood vessels that supplies blood to your brain weakens causing it to expand and potentially burst.
- A subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the area surrounding the brain, is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention to lessen the risk of permanent injury and/or death.
In an emotional essay for the New Yorker, Emilia Clarke – who plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” – revealed that during the course of the show’s eight seasons, she nearly died twice due to complications from brain aneurysms.
Through emergency surgeries and great care providers, Clarke said she was able to make a full recovery. A lot of people who experience subarachnoid hemorrhages, however, are not as fortunate.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases and around 66% of those who survive experience some type of permanent neurological impairment.
Clarke’s New Yorker essay, titled ‘A Battle for my Life,’ laid out the details of her brushes with death
In 2011, after she had finished filming the first season of “Game of Thrones,” Clarke suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage as the result of a ruptured brain aneurysm.
After undergoing a minimally-invasive surgery to repair the bleed, Clarke was told that if she made it to the two-week mark in her recovery, chances significantly increased that her recovery would be good.
Despite developing a traumatic bout of aphasia- a language impairment that can vary in severity and make communication difficult and frustrating – that lasted one week, Clarke made a complete recovery.
Two years later, however, the actress was told a second brain aneurysm had greatly expanded in size. She underwent another minimally invasive surgery, only to wake up in extreme pain. Her brain bleed had gotten worse and she’d need invasive, open-skull surgery.
Clarke eventually recovered from the surgery and is now sharing her story to raise awareness about brain injuries and stroke – especially in young people. She’s started a charity called SameYou to try to bring attention to the access that sufferers of such injuries need to increase their chances of recovery.
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????THE MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!???? The charity I have been working on for a fair few years goes live today!!! ???????????? @sameyouorg is full to bursting with love, brain power and the help of amazing people with amazing stories. @newyorkermag published my story, now I’d like to hear yours! #sameyoucharity #sameyourecovery #braininjury #letschangehowwehelp #letsbreakthesilence #youarenotalone #love #❤️
Here’s what to know about brain aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhages
An aneurysm occurs when part of an artery wall weakens, causing it to bulge or balloon out. A brain aneurysm, or cerebral aneurysm, is when the aneurysm occurs in one of the blood vessels that supplies blood to parts of your brain.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, an estimated one in 50 people in the US may have an unruptured brain aneurysm at any time and not know it. It’s more common in women than men, especially those over the age of 55. They are also more common in African-American and Hispanic individuals than whites.
People aged 35 to 60 see the most frequent prevalence of aneurysms; most are recorded after age 40. Misdiagnosis or delays in a correct diagnosis can prevent individuals with unruptured aneurysms from being able to coordinate preventive care with their healthcare providers.
Ruptured brain aneurysms are just one possible cause of subarachnoid hemorrhages, or bleeding in the area surrounding the brain.
Risk factors for brain aneurysms include family history of brain aneurysms, high blood pressure, smoking, and personal history of other aneurysms.
Not all brain aneurysms cause subarachnoid hemorrhages – here are the symptoms that should make you seek medical attention immediately
Some common symptoms associated with brain hemorrhages are vision changes or pain around your eyes, pupils that dilate with no other explanation, feeling weak or numb on one side of your body, trouble with balance or hearing loss, memory trouble, and seizures.
These symptoms may also be indicative of other conditions, so it’s best to see your healthcare provider in order to get on the path to an accurate diagnosis.
In the case of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, seizures are also possible – along with light sensitivity, double vision, the worst headache you’ve ever had, nausea or vomiting, trouble speaking, a stiff neck, confusion, and trouble concentrating.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait – call emergency services and get medical help immediately.