According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. About 235,000 of these incidents required hospitalization, and 50,000 resulted in deaths.
Car accidents and falls are the most common causes of all traumatic brain injuries, which can also be caused by blows to the head, sports injuries, or gunshot wounds. Thousands of people also suffer non-traumatic brain injuries due to stroke or oxygen deprivation, disease, or medical malpractice.
Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury do not always become apparent for several days or even weeks after the injury occurred. Symptoms can often be subtle, particularly if the injury itself was mild.
Whether you believe your injury was mild or severe, it’s crucial that you seek immediate medical care if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Memory Loss.
- Blurred Vision.
- Poor Concentration.
- Sleep Disturbances.
- Behavioral Changes.
In addition to frightening symptoms which generally manifest immediately after a brain injury, traumatic brain injuries can also cause a range of lasting effects that make it difficult to hold a job, live independently, and enjoy one’s life. Some of these persistent symptoms may improve over time, while others can become permanent.
Long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries may include:
- Physical Impairment: Physical impairment usually requires the use of walkers, motorized scooters, or wheelchairs for mobility.
- Communication Issues: Difficulty speaking, writing, or hearing.
- Cognitive Disabilities: Attention, memory, and executive functioning are impaired.
- Behavioral Impairment: The victim no longer behaves the way they did prior to the accident.
- Emotional Trauma: This can be caused by the actual injury or worsened by sudden and frustrating life changes as a result of the injury.
- Spasticity: Changes in muscle coordination, reflexes and sensation may create difficulties in speaking, eating, swallowing, or eliminating waste.
- Seizures: Seizures can occur immediately following a traumatic brain injury or may develop over time, causing unusual or involuntary body movements, inability to speak or understand speech, and dizziness or sudden exhaustion.