Traumatic Brain Injuries Increase Risk for Other Conditions

While most Illinois residents are aware that multiple or significant concussions, also referred to as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that result from contact sports, falls, car accidents and other incidents can cause lasting cognitive impairments that are often irreparable, many do not realize the impact a single, seemingly minor head injury can have on a victim’s overall health. Recent studies have revealed, however, that traumatic brain injuries can increase the risk for seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, and strokes.

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What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Traumatic brain injury is a complex head injury that can lead to a wide variety of impairments and symptoms. In most cases, traumatic brain injuries are caused from an acute event, much like other types of injuries. Unlike other types of injuries, however, brain injuries can affect various types of the victim’s body. In some situations, a victim’s personality, cognitive abilities, or physical functions can change in an instant, while in others, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may not show up for days, or even weeks.

It is important to remember that no two brain injuries are alike, and victims of similar brain injuries may suffer from entirely different consequences. Unfortunately, many traumatic brain injury victims do not even realize that they have suffered such an incident until irreparable damage has already occurred.

While most people are aware that numerous long term cognitive or physical effects can be experienced by individuals who suffer from significant head trauma, the other health conditions that often arise as a result of those injuries are not as widely known.

Stroke After Traumatic Brain Injuries

A personal injury attorney Wheeling is often all too familiar with victims who experience a stroke after suffering a traumatic brain injury. In fact, recent studies have revealed a correlation between TBIs and stroke. Since most traumatic brain injuries also result in damage to the vascular system, the blood flow that is supplied to the brain can often be affected. While in many cases, the body’s immune system is able to repair minor damages that occur to smaller blood vessels, when a major artery bleeds or a blood clot forms, this can often lead to the victim suffering a stroke.

Sometimes, the early warning signs of a stroke can be difficult to detect. In most cases, the victim will experience confusion, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, speech problems, vision problems, or headaches/ dizziness. Research by the University of Michigan reveals that the risk of suffering from a stroke is 10 times higher in the first three months that follow a significant head injury.

Dementia After a Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there is evidence that proves that there is an association between the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and previous traumatic brain injury. In fact, research by the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that dementia risks, including memory loss, the loss of cognitive function, confusion and behavioral issues often are increased and occur many years after a traumatic brain injury has occurred.

The risk for seniors who have experienced mild brain injuries repeatedly, such as those incurred during participation in a contact sport, increases significantly. Those who have experienced moderate head injuries are approximately 2.3 times more likely to experience dementia symptoms. Alarmingly, individuals who have suffered a significant traumatic brain injury are 4.5 times more likely to suffer from dementia. Many times, symptoms develop before the age of 55.

Disturbingly, many of these conditions, including permanent brain damage, can develop even after a single mild or moderate concussion is experienced. According to a study by the researchers of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, suggest that blood tests for a brain protein called SNTF might soon be used to diagnose diffuse axonal injury, also known as nerve fiber damage, and predict cognitive impairment in concussion patients. If a physician is able to diagnose such an injury, he or she will be better equipped to predict a victim’s level of impairment and the risk for other conditions that may occur in the future.

Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in children and adults who are between the ages of 1 and 4 in the United States. In fact, this type of injury leads to approximately two million medical emergency facility visits in the U.S. each year. Sadly, this type is injury is often not ever followed up by medical professionals, so medical treatment is never received. While many instances result in the victim’s full recovery, research suggests that one of five concussions result in cognitive or physical impairments that last months or even years.

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