Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Injuries can result in hospitalization, long-term disability or death.
Children and adults over 65 are the most vulnerable to the severest consequences of a TBI. Foreknowledge can help prevent this type of injury or enable sufferers to cope with the aftereffects.
Leading causes of TBIs
The CDC lists falls, assaults, motor vehicle crashes and other collisions as the dominant causes of TBIs. Families can guard against traumatic brain injuries by practicing safety at all times in the home and on the road. Despite earnest efforts, these injuries are sometimes unavoidable.
The consequences of a TBI
A TBI is not always immediately apparent. Symptoms manifest sensorily, physically, cognitively or behaviorally. Sensory changes might include blurry vision, light or sound sensitivity, hearing difficulties or a foul taste in the mouth. Cognitive disruption could entail a sudden loss of consciousness, disorientation or memory struggles.
After such an injury, behavior can shift to irritability or rapid mood swings. Physical symptoms can include nausea, headache, seizures and clear fluid draining from the ears or nose. Family members should seek medical advice when they suspect someone has a TBI.
Treatment can include surgery to repair skull fractures, remove clotting or halt bleeding. Doctors may put a patient into a temporary coma to give the brain time to heal and to prevent further injury.
TBIs can disrupt child development by restricting a child’s ability to share in activities and schooling. Attitudes and behavior can alter dramatically. Because older adults often contend with mental conditions, medical professionals can misdiagnose or overlook a TBI, resulting in lasting damage.
Since a traumatic brain injury can substantially change a person’s life, families do well to understand the full scope of ramifications to guard against avoidable difficulties.