Mar 28, 2016
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can affect anyone, but many people are unaware of the causes or symptoms. When dealing with older patients, more awareness is key and the threat of a TBI should not be taken lightly.
This guest post was created by Max Gottlieb at Senior Planning. At eMedCert, we strongly encourage all forms of guest posting. If you are interested in publishing your work on the eMedCert blog, please contact our editorial team at [email protected].
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur each year. Furthermore, a TBI is a cause or factor of a third of all injury-related deaths. The CDC also states that adults 75+ have the highest rate of TBI-related hospitalization and death. When dealing with older patients, the threat of a TBI is not to be taken lightly.
In terms of head injuries, many people only think of concussions, but a traumatic brain injury is a type of injury that takes place when a sudden blow or trauma causes harm to the brain. These injuries can occur in a myriad of ways. The majority of TBIs occur as a result of car accidents, but when taking care of older patients, preventing falls should be a priority. A TBI can occur whenever the head comes into sudden contact with an object, or, when an object punctures the skull and enters the brain tissue. When someone experiences a TBI, the symptoms are not always the same.
A person who has experienced a mild TBI may remain conscious or go through a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Others may experience ringing in their ears, blurred vision, trouble with memory or concentration, as well as difficulty thinking and maintaining attention. Some lingering effects can include a bad taste in the mouth, fatigue, mood changes, or a change in sleep patterns. A mild TBI can also cause short-term malfunctioning of the brain cells.
Someone who has experienced a moderate or severe TBI may experience the symptoms above along with a headache that gets worse with time. This may be due to bruising, torn tissues, or bleeding within the brain. Additionally, they may experience recurring vomiting or nausea. Those who experience a severe TBI may suffer from convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of pupils, slurred speech, loss of coordination, confusion, agitation, or weakness/numbness in the extremities. Some TBIs can cause disabilities, depending on the seriousness and location of the injury as well as the age and health of the person who experienced it. The most common resulting disabilities from severe TBIs are problems with cognition, communication, sensory processing, and behavior or mental health.
If you or someone you know experiences a TBI, seek medical attention immediately. The primary damage to the brain that occurs cannot be reversed. The medical professionals will attempt to stabilize the person to prevent any more harm. Major concerns for the patient include ensuring the patient has the correct amount of oxygen circulating to the brain, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling the patient’s blood pressure. Someone with a mild or moderate TBI may receive x-rays on their skull and neck to check for any spinal damage or bone fractures. A CT scan may be conducted.
Once the TBI has been diagnosed and controlled, rehabilitation may be prescribed for the individual who suffered from a TBI. If you or anyone you know experiences the symptoms of a TBI it is imperative to get help immediately. The quicker the TBI is diagnosed, the quicker the damages can be minimized. Quick response greatly increases the chances of a successful recovery.
About the Author: Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning has experience locating care for people who have suffered from a TBI. Assistance is given for free and Senior Planning specializes in long term care—mainly finding and arranging care services or applying for state and federal benefits.