An Inside Look Into Traumatic Brain Injury

An Inside Look Into Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is typically a sudden blow to the head that affects the brain’s normal function. The effects of brain injury are unpredictable and affect who you are and how you behave or think. 

Traumatic brain injury can permanently alter your life in seconds. Brain injury can happen to anyone at any time. In the U.S, there are approximately 1.7 million people who experience brain injury annually. Nearly 5.3 million people are living with a disability because of brain injury in America alone.

There is no denying that brain injury can be a life-changing injury. That’s why many people are rushed to our Memorial Heights Emergency Center for emergency care.

Let’s dive a bit deeper and see what brain injury is all about.

About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)     

In a nutshell, brain injury will come about when there is violent blunt force trauma to the head, or an object penetrates the brain tissue such as a bullet. If you experience a mild traumatic injury, your brain cells will heal after a while. 

For severe traumatic injury, the results can be devastating, such as torn tissues, bruising, or bleeding, which can cause long-term complications or death.

The essential things to remember when someone experiences brain injury are:

  • Someone with a brain injury is a person first
  • Brain injuries are not exactly the same irrespective of their similarities
  • The effects of brain injury are dependent on location, cause, and severity
  • The effects of brain injury vary from person to person and are complex

Brain injuries can be classified in three ways depending on the mechanism and severity of the injury:

  • Mild: This is when you are awake, and the eyes are open
  • Moderate: This is when you are lethargic, and the eyes are open to stimulation. There a loss of consciousness that can last up to six hours
  • Severe: the person is unconscious, and the eyes do not open.

Symptoms of Brain Injury   

A traumatic injury can have varying physical and psychological effects. Some of the symptoms may be experienced shortly after the traumatic event, and others may show up days or even weeks later. 

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Physical Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeping longer than usual
  • Fatigue 
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness only for a few seconds or minutes
  • No loss of consciousness, but you can be dazed or confused

Sensory Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to sound or light

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Mood swings or mood changes
  • Concentration problems
  • Feeling anxious or depression

Moderate and Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

These symptoms may show within a few hours or even days later. 

Physical Symptoms

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Persistent headache
  • Headache that worsens
  • Loss of consciousness from a few minutes to several hours
  • Clear fluids draining from the ears or nose
  • Loss of coordination
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Numbness or weakness in toes and fingers

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Combativeness or agitation
  • Profound confusion

Causes       

Typically, brain injury is caused by a traumatic head injury. Some of the everyday events that can cause brain injury are:

  • Vehicle-related crashes Collisions involving motorcycles, cars, and bicycles. Also, pedestrians can be involved in such accidents
  • Sports injuries: Several sports can cause brain injuries such as soccer, American football, baseball, extreme sports, among others
  • Falls: Falls from a ladder or stairs
  • Violence: Domestic violence, gunshot wounds, and other kinds of assault
  • Explosive blasts and combat injuries

What Are the Treatments for TBI?

The treatments will depend on the location and severity of the injury. 

Mild TBI

If it is mild TBI, the primary mode of treatment is plenty of rest. If you have a headache, our doctor at the ER near you will prescribe painkillers to manage the pain. You will need some time off before you can resume your normal activities.

Moderate and Severe TBI      

For moderate and severe TBI, our doctors at Memorial Heights ER will have to stabilize you to prevent further brain injury. Once you are stable, treatment options may include:

  • Medications to treat the symptoms of TBI
  • Surgery to reduce the damage to the brain
  • Rehabilitation therapies 

Complications

You can experience several complications that can appear immediately or after a brain injury. If the injury is severe, the complications will be more severe. The complications may include:

  • An altered state of consciousness such as coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and brain death
  • Physical complications include seizures, fluid buildup in the brain, vertigo, post-traumatic growth, infections, and blood vessel damage.
  • Intellectual issues such as memory problems, judgment issues, and poor concentration
  • Communication problems difficulty understanding speech and speaking 
  • Behavioral changes such as lack of self-control
  • Emotional changes such as complex PTSD
  • Degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease

Most people can get traumatized after a brain injury; that’s why you need to rush to the ER near you if such an event occurs. Or, you can call our medical professionals at Memorial Heights Emergency Center, and they will help you through the whole process.

August 1, 2020
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