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Understanding traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury can happen as a result of several types of accidents, especially car crashes and falls. A person who sustains an impact to the head can end up with TBI if any part of the brain is damaged. In the case of a car accident, TBI may occur even without direct impact, as a result of the sudden halt after traveling at a high speed.

In most cases, doctors may suspect TBI when loss of consciousness and some memory loss occurs. In the event of light or moderate TBI, these symptoms may last a short time, to the extent that memory loss can cause the victim to forget he or she passed out briefly.

Symptoms can be delayed

TBI diagnosis can be complicated because many symptoms may not surface immediately and can be taken for other, unrelated ailments. Common signs include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, vertigo, ringing or buzzing in the ears, forgetfulness, changes in behavior, irritability and impulsiveness. They may begin occurring hours, days and even weeks after the impact. For this reason, anyone who sustained an accident should keep close track of any changes in physical or emotional health in the ensuing weeks, even if they seem minor.

Do not underestimate the impact of TBI symptoms

Severe TBI often has immediately apparent, drastic consequences that could include paralysis, profound speech or cognitive impairment and even coma. On the other hand, people still tend to underestimate the effects of moderate TBI.

The problem with moderate TBI symptoms is that many of them really would not present a major life disruption were they present individually and for a short time. However, as they tend to be present in the aggregate and for an indefinite time period, the ramifications can be profound. Symptoms such as ongoing headaches, sensory issues, lack of focus and fatigue can affect personal relationships as well as the ability to work.

Treatment can manage symptoms

Due to the nature of brain damage, there is no specific cure or treatment for TBI. In many cases, TBI patients must undergo various therapies or courses of rehabilitation to mitigate the effects on functioning. They may also need to take medication to manage symptoms such as headaches or chronic pain.

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