Brain Damage

What is Brain Damage?

Brain damage, also formally known as traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurs when an injury or impact to the head leads to the destruction or degeneration of brain cells and disruption of normal functions.

How Common is Brain Damage?

The United States has yearly cases of at least 1.4 million people with brain injuries.

Is Brain Damage Fatal?

TBIs are one of the biggest causes of death and disability in the United States. Brain damage leads to 30% of all injury-induced deaths. TBIs are responsible for at least 153 deaths a day. The people who survive the injuries face effects that last from a few days to the rest of their lives.

What Causes Brain Damage?

A strong impact or injury to the head causes brain damage. Statistically, the leading causes for TBIs in the United States include falls, assault by or against a blunt object, motor vehicle crashes, and intentional self-harm. These injuries can take place in any moment with rigorous activity, such as work and sports.

What are the Symptoms of Concussions?

The symptoms of brain damage manifest at different times, ranging between days and weeks after the injury. Sometimes, the patient barely feels any symptoms. Concussions are the mildest form of TBIs and manifest through headaches, nausea, ear ringing, and exhaustion. Irregular sleep patterns, difficulty thinking, and slight mood and behavioral instability are also symptoms of concussions.

What are the Symptoms of Serious Brain Damage?

Concussions escalate when they allow a blood clot to create pressure between the brain and the skull. The symptoms for serious brain damage in adults include repeated nausea or vomiting, worsening headaches, lack of coordination, and weakness. If symptoms such as seizures, lack of memory, uneven pupil sizes, and loss of consciousness occur, seek emergency intervention immediately.

Children manifest many of the same TBI symptoms as adults. However, they should go to the emergency room immediately if they refuse to eat or become inconsolable right after a head injury.

How can Concussions be Treated?

Concussions and mild TBIs do not require much treatment beyond rest and relaxation. The patient should make a slow, gradual return to his or her everyday routine. Even small activities such as reading or using a computer place stress on the recovering brain and slow healing. Drugs and alcohol also slow down recovery. Sports and other rigorous physical activities can create a second injury, leading to permanent brain damage and death.

How can Serious Brain Damage be Treated?

Emergency treatments for serious TBIs prioritize placing proper oxygen flow and maintaining blood pressure, as well as preventing further injury. Surgery can remove blood clots, relieve skull pressure, and repair skull fractures. People with severe brain injuries need rehabilitation therapy to recover. Therapy treatments range from physical and occupational to speech, cognitive, and psychological. Depending on the injury, the rehabilitation therapy may be short- or long-term, and it can always change as recovery progresses.

Physicians use medications to treat the symptoms of brain injuries. Among the recommended medications are anticoagulants, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants.

How can Brain Damage be Prevented?

Taking the proper precautions can prevent most situations that lead to brain injuries. One can avoid falls paying attention to one’s surroundings in case of any dangerous situation. Wearing proper equipment and engaging in safety rituals prevents injuries in sports and outdoors work. Safe driving practices and avoiding alcohol and drugs reduce the chances of an accident.