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Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is normally caused by a violent bump, joilt or blow to the head or body. It may be also the result of a sudden hitting by an object such as a bullet or skull.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is normally caused by a violent bump, joilt or blow to the head or body. It may be also the result of a sudden hitting by an object such as a bullet or skull. In mild traumatic brain injury, the brain cells may be affected temporarily while more-serious traumatic brain injury may lead to a damage of the brain including bruising, torn tissues and bleeding. These injuries might lead to long-term complications or death.

 

Symptoms

Both physical and psychological health can be affected from traumatic brain injury. The signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury may appear right after the injury and may also occur days or weeks after.

  • Mild traumatic brain injury

             People with mild traumatic brain injury may experience:

    • Headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Fatigue or drowsiness
    • Speech problems
    • Dizziness
    • Loss of balance
    • Loss of consciousness for seconds or minutes
    • Confused without loss of balance

            People with mild traumatic brain injury may also have sensory and cognitive problems including:

    • Sensory symptoms
      • Blurred vision
      • Ringing in the ears
      • Changes in the ability of smell or taste
      • Sensitivity to light or sound
    • Cognitive or mental symptoms
        • Mood changes or swing
        • Problems of memory or concentration
        • Depression or anxiousness
  • Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury

Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury may occur within an hour to days after the injury. Those signs and symptoms may include physical, cognitive and mental problems as follow:

    • Physical symptoms
      • Prolonged or worsen headache
      • Repeated vomiting or nausea
      • Seizures or convulsions
      • Expansion of one or both pupils of the eyes
      • Draining of clear fluid from the nose or ears
      • Loss of coordination
      • Loss of consciousness from few minutes to hours
      • Weak or numb fingers and toes
      • Incapacity to awaken from sleep
    • Cognitive or mental symptoms
      • Serious confusion
      • Unusual behavior such as agitation or combativeness
      • Slurred speech
      • Conscious disorders and coma
  • Symptoms in children

Young children and infants may have difficulty explaining their symptoms. You may be aware of signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury if the children have:

    • unusual irritability
    • change in some habits including eating, sleeping and nursing
    • loss of interest in usual favorites
    • less ability to pay attention
    • Persistent crying and hard to be consoled
    • seizures
    • drowsiness
    • mood of sad or depression

 

When to see the doctor

People with head injury are highly recommended to see the doctor especially if they have behavioral changes. In case any signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury occur, seek emergency medical care immediately.

 

Causes

Generally, traumatic brain injury is caused by a blow or injury to the head or body. The injury may be occured by some events as follow:

  • Falls
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Violence
  • Sport injuries
  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries

 

Risk factors

Traumatic brain injury can happen to any people with any range of age. However, the risk of   traumatic brain injury tends to increase with:

  • Children from newborn to 4 years old
  • Young adults between the age of 15 to 24 years old
  • Elderly people from 60 years old and older
  • Males in at any age

 

Complications

Traumatic brain injury may result in prolonged or permanent conditions which may include:

  • Conscious complications
    • Coma
    • Vegetable state
    • Minimally conscious state
    • Brain death
  • Physical complications
    • Seizures
    • Hydrocephalus or a buildup of fluid in the brain
    • Infections
    • Blood vessel damage
    • Headaches
    • Vertigo
  • Intellectual complications
    • Cognitive problems including memory, learning, reasoning, judgement, attention or concentration
    • Executive functioning problems including problem solving, multitasking, organization, planning, decision-making, beginning or completing tasks
  •  Communication complications
    • Difficulty of understanding speech, writing, reading cues from listeners or nonverbal signals
    • Difficulty of speaking or writing
    • Lack of ability to thoughts and ideas
    • Difficulty of following and participating in conversations
    • Difficulty of in using tone, pitch or stress to deliver emotions, attitudes or differences in meaning
    • Difficulty of starting or stopping conversations
    • Dysarthria or an inability to use the muscles needed to form words
  • Sensory complications
    • Prolonged ringing in the ears
    • Difficulty of recognizing objects
    • Impaired hand-eye coordination
    • Double vision or blind spots
    • Changes of taste and smell
    • Skin tingling, pain or itching
    • Difficulty of balance or dizziness
  • Behavioral changes
    • Lack of awareness
    • Risky behavior
    • Difficulty in social situations
    • Verbal or physical outbursts
    • Less ability of self-control
  • Emotional changes
    • Lack of empathy for others
    • Anger
    • Insomnia
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Mood swings
    • Irritability
    • Lack of empathy for others
    • Anger
    • Insomnia
  • Degenerative brain diseases

Traumatic brain injury may result in other brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or dementia pugilistica.


Diagnosis

The doctor may conduct several tests and procedures to examine severity of the injury and the function of the brain. The tests and procedures may include:

  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Imaging tests including CT scan and MRI
  • Intracranial pressure monitor


Treatment

Treatment for traumatic brain injury differs from the severity of the injury. The doctor may require no treatment for people with mild state but recommend to take some rest or prescribe pain relievers if they have a headache. Most of them may be required to have follow-up appointments. However, other treatment for more severe traumatic brain injury may include:

  • Medications

To limit further damage the the brain, the doctor may prescribe some medication which may include:

    • Diuretics
    • Anti-seizure drugs
    • Coma-inducing drugs
  • Surgery

            To reduce additional damage to brain tissue, the doctor might conduct a surgery to repair skull fractures or to decrease the risk of:

    • blood clots or hematomas
    • bleeding in the brain
    • pressure of the object that might hit or stuck in the head