Traumatic Brain Injuries affect 1.7 million people annually. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a form of acquired brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. A TBI can happen when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and then enters the brain. Concussions are the most common form of Traumatic Brain Injury.
The symptoms and severity of a Traumatic Brain Injury can vary greatly. A person with a mild Traumatic Brain Injury may remain conscious or lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. In mild cases, the symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury can include:
- Blurred vision/tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Trouble with memory or concentration
In more severe Traumatic Brain Injuries, a person may show those symptoms, but they may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away. Symptoms of a moderate or severe Traumatic Brain Injury include:
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Inability to be woken up
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech
Anyone that exhibits the symptoms of a moderate or severe Traumatic Brain Injury should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Since little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage, medical professionals can try to stabilize someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury and focus on preventing further damage. Those with mild to moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for fractures. In the event of a severe Traumatic Brain Injury, a CT scan is usually administered.
The prognosis for those who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury varies. About half of those with severe Traumatic Brain Injuries require surgery to remove or repair hematoma (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). Disabilities resulting from a Traumatic Brain Injury depend on the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and health and age of the individual.
Some common disabilities that may result from Traumatic Brain Injury include:
- Problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reason)
- Sensory processing
- Communication (expression and understanding)
- Behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, PTSD, aggression)
More serious Traumatic Brain Injuries can cause the individual to go into an unresponsive state. Typically, the individual who suffered the Traumatic Brain Injury can be roused briefly by strong stimulus. Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries can also cause the individual to go into a vegetative state.
Since the symptoms and outcome of a Traumatic Brain Injury can vary and impact an individual so greatly, it’s important that those who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury wear a medical ID. If an event like a seizure or memory loss were to occur, it would be important for first responders to understand the root of the symptom.
For those with a Traumatic Brain Injury, we recommend that the medical ID list the individual’s name, the date of the Traumatic Brain Injury, persistent symptoms that might be correlated with the Traumatic Brain Injury, and an emergency contact number.
MEMORY LOSS, PTSD
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