According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. While some of these people may fully recover, others may die from their injuries or have to develop coping skills for
living as a disabled person for the remainder of their lives.
A traumatic brain injury can develop following a bump, jolt or blow to the head. It can also occur due to a “penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” The injured party may just suffer a “mild” TBI that only causes a brief change in his (or her) consciousness or mental functioning. However, others may incur “severe” TBIs that cause an “extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the[ir] injur[ies].” Fortunately, most people only suffer a milder form of a TBI called a concussion.
While highly active people may suffer a TBI as a result of a contact sport, many others may experience one following a car accident or after simply falling in their own home. Regardless of the cause, immediate attention may be required if some of the more serious TBI symptoms, set forth below, are present.
Some of the Most Serious Signs of a TBI
· Ongoing vomiting or nausea;
· Slurred speech (this can also indicate a recent stroke);
· Seizures or convulsions;
· Great difficulty in waking from sleep;
· Dilation of one’s pupils;
· Marked confusion, agitation or restlessness;
· Problems with one’s coordination; or
· A headache that continues to worsen (Source: CDC poster on TBIs)
While an immediate trip to an emergency room (or doctor’s office) may not be necessary when only one or two of the symptoms listed above appear after a bad fall or blow to the head, it’s often wise to be a bit conservative and seek out expert medical help when anyone experiences a possible brain injury.
Many of the following symptoms may also be present when someone has suffered a TBI. (Note: Since some of the symptoms listed below can also signal a recent stroke, form of dementia or other impaired physical or mental state, it may still be wise to visit a doctor to be sure the injured party is properly diagnosed and treated.)
Less Serious Signs of a TBI (Which May Still Mandate a Complete Exam)
· Experiencing much less energy a good bit of the time or a loss of motivation;
· Struggling with impaired memory, concentration or organizational skills;
· A low-grade headache that never really leaves you;
· A slowdown in your ability to think, read, speak or act;
· Becoming more confused or getting lost more frequently;
· Experiencing a marked change in your sex drive;
· Hearing some type of ringing in your ears; or
· Having to learn to cope with a new type of dizziness or loss of balance
We will soon be publishing additional articles on traumatic brain injuries to further explain how TBIs can permanently change people’s lives and to discuss the types of treatment now available for such injuries.