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Traumatic brain injuries: What you should know

Traumatic brain injuries affect millions of Americans every year. Approximately 1.5 million people receive traumatic brain injuries annually, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases, 50,000 people die, 230,000 are hospitalized and 80,000 to 90,000 people experience long-term disabilities due to the injury.

TBIs can cause both immediate and long-term damage. Seeking immediate medical attention can help minimize damage and maximize a favorable outcome. It is critical that you know how to spot the signs of traumatic brain injury and know what to do in the unfortunate instance that you or a loved one are affected.

Look out for the signs

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke lists the following as signs and symptoms of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Consistent headaches and confusion
  • Loss of memory or trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue or a change in sleeping patterns
  • Sensory deficiencies, such as blurred vision or hearing problems

More severe cases of TBI may involve nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, tingling in the muscles, increased confusion, seizures and unconsciousness.

Seeking medical attention

Once brain damage occurs, it cannot be reversed. This makes it critical to see a doctor as quickly as possible following an injury. Medical professionals can work to prevent further damage from occurring.

Brain trauma is marked by brain swelling, bleeding and inflammation. Once a doctor assesses the situation, he or she can create a unique treatment plan that may involve speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling and medical attention.