Traumatic brain injury is any type of injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Usually, traumatic brain injuries occur after someone has endured a blow or jolt to the head. They can also occur if an object penetrates the skull. Even so, not all blows to the head result in a traumatic brain injury. For a head or brain injury to be defined as a traumatic brain injury the patient must have a change in their overall function or personality. These changes can last for a few hours with mild injuries or may be permanent with severe injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are incredibly serious because they affect a person’s everyday life. Unlike other injuries to the body, traumatic brain injuries can affect how well a person functions, thinks and talks. In severe cases, patients may never return to their normal self before their injury. These injuries are commonly seen after car accidents, during certain sports, or in the elderly. The elderly population is at risk for developing a traumatic brain injury due to them having an increased risk of falling. One simple fall in your elderly loved one’s home can result in a traumatic brain injury. If your loved one is at risk for falling then they are also at risk for developing a brain injury. Keep reading to learn about the causes, signs and types of traumatic brain injuries so that you can be prepared if an accident would occur.
The human brain is a delicate yet complex organ that literally floats inside of your skull. Surrounding the brain are layers of fluids and tissues that are known as the meninges. These layers help support and cushion the brain during your everyday routines. The skull also surrounds the brain and gives the brain around a quarter inch of bone of protection. Even so, the brain can move through the meninges and does move to compensate your movement. A traumatic brain injury occurs when your brain moves too swiftly and hits your skull. These injuries can also occur if your skull is penetrated by a foreign object and bleeding occurs in the brain. The blood can form a hematoma, or a bruise, and put pressure on the brain resulting in a traumatic brain injury. The most common cause of traumatic brain injuries are falls. When a person falls their head may hit the floor or a foreign object extremely hard. This can cause their brain to hit their skull and form a bruise which can result in serious injury. Another common cause of traumatic brain injuries are car accidents. During car accidents people often are jolted forward in their seats. This sudden movement causes their brains to bounce off of their skulls and become injured. Other causes of traumatic brain injuries include being struck in the head, being assaulted, or being exposed to explosive blasts in the military or police force.
If you suspect that your loved one may have a traumatic brain injury from a fall they took or any other of the causes mentioned above then you should first and foremost take them to the hospital. However, you can also look for certain signs that will point towards a traumatic brain injury. While no self-test can replace the examination of a doctor, you can still look for various signs and symptoms to help figure out what is going on. One of the most common signs of a traumatic brain injury is having headaches very frequently. When the brain has been injured or has a bruise then the person will feel a dull ache in their head that can escalate to stabbing pains. Headaches may last for a long period of time depending on the severity of the injury. Another sign is memory loss. If your loved one had a fall and is having a hard time recalling certain things during their everyday routine then they may have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Another sign is not being able to recall words or phrases during conversations. People who suffer from brain injuries often find it difficult to choose the right words during conversations. They also may find it hard to fully understand other people. Other signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries include sleeping too much, feeling anxious, not being able to focus, and having a loss of one of their senses. If your loved one had a bad fall and is experiencing any of these signs and symptoms then talk to their doctor as soon as possible.
There are two basic types of traumatic brain injuries: open head and closed head. Open head injuries occur when the skull is cracked or opened during an accident or an assault. Most open head injuries occur as a result from a gunshot wound. During these injuries bone may become lodged in the brain or surrounding tissues. These types of injuries are often very severe and can lead to a major loss in cognitive and physical functions. Close head injuries occur when nothing penetrates the skull. They occur when a sudden direct hit is applied to the brain and the brain becomes bruised or damaged. These injuries can be just as serious as open head injuries and can also lead to a significant loss of cognitive and physical functions.
Traumatic brain injuries should not be taken lightly. They are serious medical conditions that should be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible after the accident occurs. Without a proper exam by a medical professional the injury may go untreated and the patient may suffer. Doctors can easily diagnosed and treat many different types of traumatic brain injuries, so it is essential that you seek their advice if an accident occurs. If your elderly loved one does suffer a traumatic brain injury, first take them to the nearest hospital to get diagnosed and to obtain a treatment plan. Always remember to be patient with your loved one. They may have changes in their physical functions or personality for a few days, months or never return to their normal self before their injury depending on the severity of their injury. Be patient with them and support them as they heal from their brain injury.