Have you ever thought about what could happen to your brain if you took a hit that was a little too hard while playing football or boxing? What about if you fell out of bed or slipped while you were in the shower? The truth is that brain injuries are not always the result of violence or car crashes and they can happen from seemingly minor events. The effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can last for a few days or stay with a person for decades, greatly impacting their quality of life. What’s even scarier is the fact that TBIs are one of the leading causes of disability and even death in the United States. Here are eight facts you need to know about TBIs to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
In simple terms, a traumatic brain injury is any type of significant damage that is done to the brain resulting from a blow or jolt to the head. The type of TBI can range in severity and effects based on the level of bruising, bleeding, or torn tissues that exist. Between 2006 and 2014, research from the Center for Disease Control discovered that instances of TBI-related injuries had increased by 53%. Additionally, an estimated 1.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from brain injuries every year and misconceptions surrounding TBIs lead many cases to go unreported or misdiagnosed.
1. Anyone Can Be Affected
While anyone can get a brain injury, those most likely to be affected by a TBI include young children, teenagers, and the elderly who are prone to taking on more damage after a fall. For teenagers, motor vehicle accidents as a result of reckless or distracted driving are one of the leading causes of brain injuries.
2. Many Patients Are Misdiagnosed
Many people visit their doctor or go to the emergency room when they suspect that they have a concussion, but unfortunately, many TBIs slip through the cracks because they are not properly diagnosed. A misdiagnosis and a lack of follow-up care can significantly impair a person’s recovery time and cause difficulties with health benefits, government assistance, legal compensation, or therapy.
3. Brain Trauma is a Leading Cause of Seizures
The impact of a TBI might not be immediately obvious after an accident occurs but the symptoms can develop or worsen over time. Some people might experience seizures for just a few days after a TBI or they might suffer from the effects of the injury for years. This risk only increases in cases of trauma that involved surgical intervention.
4. Children Exhibit Signs Differently
Younger children who experience a TBI might not initially display cognitive or behavioral abnormalities. However, the effects can become more apparent over time, leading to significant mental deficiencies. As the brain grows and develops, areas that have experienced trauma might remain stagnant or stunted.
5. Brain Injuries Do Not Always Result in Unconsciousness
Unlike in the movies, people do not always lose consciousness when they hit their head and they might act completely normal after a fall. This means that some people might not seek treatment and could be more vulnerable to issues down the lines like mood swings, depression, memory loss, or difficulty concentrating.
6. Behavioral Changes Can Be a Lifesaving Clue
Being aware of the symptoms of a TBI can help save a life. Some common signs that a person is suffering from a brain injury can include grogginess, weakness in their hands and feet, and a persistent headache. In any situation where a person receives a blow to the head, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Traumatic brain injuries are a serious matter than can necessitate medical repatriation services or even impact a person’s health for the rest of their life. Recognizing the signs of a TBI is the first step to recovery.