Traumatic brain injury is a vital cause of death and disability in most of the states. TBIs nearly contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation, or emotional functioning. These issues can have lasting effects on families as well.
What to know about TBI?
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It usually disrupts the normal function of the brain. You must know that not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from just mild to severe. The severe form of TBI might include an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury. Most of the TBIs that occur each year are mild are termed as “concussions”.
Usually, traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, can cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury may impact your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding etc. These injuries can give way to long-term complications or death.
What are the common symptoms?
Traumatic brain injury can have many psychological effects. Some of the common signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event. For a mild traumatic brain injury, the signs and symptoms might include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Problems with speech
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Dizziness or loss of balance
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries
What to know about children’s symptoms?
Most of the times, infants and young children with brain injuries are not be able to communicate headaches, sensory problems, confusion, and similar symptoms. In a child with traumatic brain injury, you might observe change in eating or nursing habits; unusual or easy irritability; persistent crying and inability to be consoled; change in ability to pay attention; change in sleep habits; seizures; sad or depressed mood; drowsiness; loss of interest in favorite toys or activities etc.
What is the right time to see a doctor?
You must see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Try to seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a recent blow or another traumatic injury to the head.
What are the usual causes of TBI?
Traumatic brain injury is usually caused by a blow or other traumatic injury to the head or body. The degree of damage can depend on many factors. These include the nature of the injury and the force of impact.
What are some of the most common events that cause traumatic brain injury?
Falls from bed or a ladder, downstairs, in the bath and other falls are the most prominent causes of traumatic brain injury overall. These particularly occur in older adults and young children.
- Vehicle-related collisions
Collisions that involve cars, motorcycles or bicycles and pedestrians involved in such accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.
Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse etc. are common causes. A shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury in infants that is widely caused by violent shaking.
- Sports injuries
Traumatic brain injuries might be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports. These are pretty common in youth.
- Explosive blasts and other combat injuries
Explosive blasts are a popular cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Most of the researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function.
- Penetrating wounds
Traumatic brain injury occurs from penetrating wounds, severe blows to the head with shrapnel or debris, and falls or physical collisions with objects following a blast.
- What are the risk factors?
The people at risk of traumatic brain injury usually include children, especially newborns to 4-year-olds; young adults, especially those between ages 15 and 24; adults age 60 and older; males in any age group etc.
- What are the complications involved?
There are many complications that can occur immediately or soon after a traumatic brain injury. Severe injuries increase the risk of a greater number and more-severe complications.
- Altered consciousness
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can result in prolonged or permanent changes in a person’s state of consciousness, awareness or responsiveness. Different states of consciousness include:
A person in a coma is unconscious and unaware of anything. Usually, he is unable to respond to any stimulus as well. This is caused from widespread damage to all parts of the brain. After some weeks, a person may emerge from a coma or enter a vegetative state.
- Vegetative state
Widespread damage to the brain can give way to a vegetative state. Though the person is unaware of surroundings, he may open his or her eyes, make sounds, respond to reflexes, or move. In the worst case, a vegetative state can become permanent. However, individuals usually progress to a minimally conscious state.
- Minimally conscious state
This is a condition of severely altered consciousness but with some signs of self-awareness or awareness of one’s environment.
- Brain death
If there is no measurable activity in the brain and the brainstem, this is referred to as brain death. In a person who has been declared brain dead, removal of breathing devices will give way to cessation of breathing and eventual heart failure. Brain death is usually irreversible.
The seizures might occur only in the early stages, or years after the injury. Recurrent seizures are referred to as post-traumatic epilepsy.