Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, accounting for approximately 30% of injury-related deaths globally. According to the World Health Organization, TBIs are expected to become the third leading cause of global disease burden by 2020. These injuries can have long-term consequences on a person’s physical, cognitive, and emotional wellbeing. Understanding these injuries and their effects is essential in preventing and managing their impact on individuals, families, and communities. Here are four TBI facts you should know.
Fact 1: TBIs can happen to Anyone
While anyone can sustain a TBI, certain populations are at higher risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children aged 0-4 years, older adults (age 75 and older), and males are more likely to sustain a TBI. Other factors that increase the risk of TBI include engagement in high-risk activities such as contact sports, motor vehicle accidents, and falls, particularly from high places.
Military personnel who have been deployed to conflict zones are also at a high risk of TBIs. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) estimates that approximately 20% of the service members who were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan sustained a TBI. The DVBIC has been working to improve the diagnosis and treatment of TBIs in the military, where early identification and treatment of these injuries can have significant impacts on recovery.
Fact 2: Symptoms of TBI Vary
The symptoms of TBIs vary depending on the extent and location of the injury. Symptoms can be classified as physical, cognitive, and emotional.
Physical symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, balance problems, fatigue, and sensitivity to light or noise. In severe cases, TBIs can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and paralysis.
Cognitive symptoms include difficulty concentrating, memory problems, confusion, slowed thinking, and speech difficulties. Emotional symptoms include irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
It is essential to note that symptoms may not appear immediately after a TBI. Some symptoms may take hours or days to develop. In some cases, people may experience no symptoms or mild symptoms that resolve quickly. However, it is crucial to seek medical attention if there is any suspicion of a TBI, especially after experiencing a high-impact injury or a blow to the head.
Fact 3: TBI Can Have Long-term Consequences
TBIs can have long-term consequences on a person’s life. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, some people may have permanent physical, cognitive, and emotional deficits. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative brain disease linked to repeated TBIs. CTE has been observed in professional athletes who have sustained multiple concussions over their careers, military personnel deployed to conflict zones, and individuals who have experienced repetitive head impacts, such as domestic abuse victims.
Research has shown that even a single moderate to severe TBI can have long-term effects. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma found that people who sustained a TBI were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia later in life.
Fact 4: Prevention is Key
While not all TBIs can be prevented, there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk of sustaining a TBI. These include:
Wearing protective equipment: Helmets, mouthguards, and other protective gear can significantly reduce the risk of a TBI in high-risk activities, such as sports and work-related tasks.
Safe driving practices: Wearing seatbelts, avoiding distracted and drunk driving, and following traffic laws can help reduce the risk of a TBI in motor vehicle accidents.
Preventing falls: Installing handrails, improving lighting, and removing tripping hazards can help reduce the risk of falls, particularly in older adults.
While prevention is essential, it is crucial to seek medical attention if a TBI is suspected. Early diagnosis and treatment of TBIs can improve outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term consequences.
TBIs are a significant public health concern, with long-term consequences on individuals, families, and communities. Understanding the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention strategies is essential in preventing and managing TBIs. While prevention is key, seeking medical attention if a TBI is suspected can significantly impact recovery. Research into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of TBIs is ongoing, and the development of new interventions will help improve outcomes and reduce the impact of these injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries are classified as the most severe of the three types of brain injuries; additional brain injuries include minor brain injury and intermediate brain injury. Unlike minor and intermediate brain injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI) includes the most potentially-severe consequences, ranging from spinal damage and loss of motor skills to paralysis and quadriplegia.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Traumatic brain injury, to which can also be referred as intracranial injury, is a damage sustained to the brain as a result of impact, force, or trauma; however, the classification of physical, traumatic brain injury is kept separate from psychological, traumatic brain injury – while symptoms and signs might overlap, both the immediate treatment of both types of injuries require vastly different care.
The Human Brain
The human brain, which acts in concert with the spinal cord, is the two components of the human central nervous system – responsible for the operations, management, and transmission of neurological commands, sensations, and responses.
Damage to the brain can contribute to a multitude of medical maladies, and due to the innate complexity of the neurological structure of the central nervous system, traumatic brain injuries can result in tragic results. The neurological connectors shared by the spinal cord and the base of the brain serve as a communication center, which used by the human body to perform tasks. Any damage to this delicate area resulting from traumatic brain injury can not only impair one’s ability, but their quality of life, as well.
Signs and Symptoms Resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury
Comas are not uncommon subsequent to sustaining a traumatic brain injury; trauma to the brain can cause long-term loss of consciousness – while less severe types of brain injury can result in concussions, comas occur more frequently in the event of a TBI
Due to rapid shifting and movement of the brain subsequent to traumatic brain injury, contusions – also known as brain hemorrhaging – can result from a variety of these types of brain injuries
Loss of motor skills as a result of traumatic brain injury are not uncommon; forceful and/or blunt trauma to the brain can sever and damage neurological wiring that controls movement and speech
Spasms and seizures are a frequent result of traumatic brain injury; forceful impact sustained by the human brain can result in faulty neurological responses and blackouts
Paralysis and quadriplegia are amongst the most severe consequences of traumatic brain injury; upon severance and damage sustained by the brain and spinal cord, the human central nervous system cannot send neurological signals – this results in paralysis
Death can result from traumatic brain injury as a result of severe trauma sustained by the brain
Traumatic Brain Injury Recourse
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can alter an individual’s quality of life, oftentimes resulting in prolonged therapy and/or medical services. In the event that an individual has suffered a traumatic brain injury, an attorney specializing in personal injury should be contacted. This type of attorney can lend their respective legal expertise in the assessment of not only the injury sustained as a result of the traumatic brain injury, but also pertinent case details.