How Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Happen?
A traumatic brain injury results from a sudden trauma causing damage to the brain. This can happen where the head comes in sudden violent contact with an object. Traumatic brain injuries also classify situations in which an object pierces the skull, entering the brain.
Traumatic brain injuries can be the result of car or motorcycle accidents, sports injuries, slipping and falling, playground accidents, defective products, or something as simple as falling out of bed. The idea to understand here is that a traumatic brain injury can be the result of many or most of our everyday activities. The cause of the traumatic brain injury does not always indicate the severity of the traumatic brain injury
Everyone would be better served with a general understanding of traumatic brain injuries, their symptoms and potential long term complications, so that they are prepared to recover if necessary.
Understanding the Impacts of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Our brains, hidden away in our heads, could be the most important parts of our daily lives. Everything that we do, every emotion we have, and every decision we make, goes through our brains. When we have an injury to the brain, we have an injury to our lives.
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to sleeplessness, aggression, mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger, or sadness. The emotional and behavioral changes can be vast.
The reactions are going to vary from individual to individual. How a person may feel or change after a traumatic brain injury depends on the symptoms that the individual is experiencing and how they are able to process and deal with those symptoms in their life.
The Symptoms of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
A mild TBI can result in loss of consciousness, headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, problems with speech, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell, sensitivity to light or sound, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral and mood changes, or trouble with memory, concentration, attention or thinking.
The Symptoms of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
More severe traumatic brain injuries can result in persistent headaches, loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours, coma and other disorders of consciousness, continued vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, dilation of one or both pupils, inability to wake, slurred speech, weakness in arms and legs, loss of coordination, or increased confusion, restlessness or agitation.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
Unfortunately, children can come to experience a traumatic brain injury in the same manner as an adult. Such as in a car accident, or by an incident on the playground. Because of their inability to communicate the specific issues that they are facing, looking out for the following symptoms may help to prevent further injury to your child.
The following symptoms may indicate a traumatic brain injury in your child: change in eating or nursing habits, unusual or easy irritability, persistent crying and inability to be consoled, change in ability to pay attention, change in sleep habits, seizures, sad or depressed mood, drowsiness, or loss of interest in favorite toys or activities.
Complications of a Traumatic Brain Injury and What You Can Do
Posttraumatic seizures can occur frequently after moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries. A person who has had a post traumatic seizure following a traumatic brain injury has a 50% chance of having another. Symptoms of seizures broadly vary, and various treatments are available. For more information on seizures following a traumatic brain injury, click here.
Within the skull, the brain can be affected by increased cranial pressure, brain infections, edema (swelling as result of increased brain fluid), or hydrocephalus (water on the brain). Edema, brain infections, and ICP may be treated with medication. Hydrocephalus can require a lumbar puncture or shunt placement.
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is also common. It occurs in as much as 54% of individuals following a traumatic brain injury. This can lead to immobility, fractures in the legs, paralysis, and coagulation or fibrinolysis disruption. Because complications related to DVT can be hard to detect, be sure to consult your doctor if you have any suspicion or issues. DVT in a traumatic brain injury patient is treated in the same way as the public – with anticoagulants and prophylaxis.
Heterotopic ossification can occur in up to 76% of traumatic brain injury patients. This results in joint pain and decreased range of motion. Individuals with heterotopic ossification may also experience low fevers and joint swelling, warmth, or erythema. To diagnose, laboratory and radiologic data are necessary. Range of motion exercise can help prevent development of heterotopic ossification. Treatment of existing heterotopic ossification requires an individual assessment by a doctor.
Further complications can include, but are not limited to, low blood pressure, fever, pneumonia, skin breakdown, GI and GU complications, gait abnormalities, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and spasticity.
The brain is connected to all aspects of a person’s life, both mental and physical, and so the range of effects can enormously vary. Closely monitoring your body and your health are critical in the recovery process. Clear communication with your doctor is equally if not more important, so that they can get ahead of any issues yet to arise and guide you in recovering from those that already have.
The cost, time, and stress that results after a traumatic brain injury is often overwhelming. If you believe your injury was the result of another’s negligence, or if you have insurance that you believe should cover your injury, the attorneys at Haffner & Morgan can help you in both your financial and physical recovery. Consultations are available at no cost to you, and no fees are taken unless you obtain a settlement or positive jury verdict.