Traumatic Brain Injuries
The term TBI or traumatic brain injury, which is also referred to as a head injury or acquired brain injury, refers to injuries to the brain which are caused by some form of traumatic impact. In general, traumatic brain injuries are caused by a penetration of brain tissues, violent shaking or a blow to the head. Brain damage can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the cause of the injury.
TBI causes damage to many parts of the brain including the brain stem, cerebellum and the cerebral hemispheres. It may cause various social, physical, emotional and cognitive effects.
It is seen that around 1.4 million people suffer TBI every year. Most of the time, TBIs are frequently misdiagnosed when the patient first seeks a private physician, HMO or emergency room. Unfortunately, these victims are often deceived into thinking that their symptoms are nothing to worry about, and no further medical treatment is required. However, there may be serious effects as a result of this negligence and the delay of agonizing weeks or months prior to the victim deciding to be seen again.
Let us have a look at some of the common causes of traumatic brain injuries:
- Truck or car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Acts of violence
- Sports injuries
- Bicycle accidents
- Other recreational injuries
The symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury can be slightly hard to detect. The symptoms may include all or some of the following:
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Short-term memory loss
- Aggression and agitation
- Alterations in behavior pattern
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Changes in ability to hear, taste or smell
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision
The above mentioned symptoms may not be present immediately following the injury. In some cases, these symptoms are not seen until weeks or even months after the trauma. Further, many TBI victims have difficulty describing their symptoms clearly to their physician. Sometimes, victims fail to understand that the symptoms they are suffering are related to the trauma.
Some TBI victims are reluctant to declare they are suffering from mental impairment. It is essential that a physician should get to know a thorough and detailed history of the trauma, the patient and the symptoms. This is crucial, as diagnosis is completely based on the work-up and evaluation of patients.
In more serious traumatic brain injury cases, there can be fatal complications. Though the extremity of TBI varies, there can be life-changing and devastating long-term effects.
Traumatic Brain Injury- Types:
Traumatic brain injuries are divided into two categories:
Open head injury: This is the type of injury involving a fractured skull or breached membranes that surround the brain. This type of injury is very grave and often requires surgery.
Closed head injury: This type of injury includes injuries typically caused by a blow to the head without the breaking of the skull.
Damage due to TBI is categorized as either diffuse or focal. Diffuse damage is damage to different areas of the brain caused by violent collisions, neurological diseases, infection, aneurisms or lack of oxygen. On the other hand, focal damage is limited to a small portion of the brain where the object penetrates the brain or an object hits the head.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Treatment
While treating traumatic brain injury, experts work carefully to stabilize the victim’s condition. Furthermore, open wounds are treated and antibiotics are administered to avoid infection. Once the condition of a patient becomes stable, doctors assess the level of brain damage.
Some anti-convulsion medications are prescribed to prevent seizures. Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation is an integral segment of TBI treatment. It helps victims manage and regain impaired brain functions. It also helps avoid long-term traumatic brain injury disabilities. In addition, it helps a victim’s family cope with the tragedy and support the victim.