As medical science progresses our understanding of the human brain has increased dramatically, which is also expanding our grasp on the ever-important field of brain injuries. 7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
A brain injury is any alteration of the brain’s normal function caused by an external force. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Injury Prevention, the most common cause of brain injuries (at 40%) is falls. Over 30 years of research has also linked traumatic brain injury to greater risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The effects on the brain vary and can affect physical, cognitive, speech and behavioral functions. It’s important to know the different types of brain injuries and how they may affect you. 7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
A concussion is any direct trauma to the head. It is the most common and minor form of traumatic brain injuries. Concussions can be caused by violent shaking or whiplash during a fall, or in more severe cases in assault or head wounds. During concussions, the blood vessels may stretch and cranial nerves may potentially be damaged. Concussions usually lead to short-term loss of consciousness (about 20 minutes), confusion or dizziness. Though they usually heal on their own, proper medical screenings such as a CAT scan are still necessary. 7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
A contusion, much like a concussion, is also the result of direct head impact, however the trauma leaves a bruise or bleeding in the brain. In cases where contusions have heavier bleeding or swelling, surgery is the most common form of treatment to prevent dangerous blood clots. Surgeons may also prescribe antibiotics to treat infections to reduce changes or recurring swelling. In most cases, contusions can be fixed with few long-term symptoms or signs of damage.
Major damage to any blood vessel (an artery, vein, or capillary) causes a hematoma, which means bleeding in or around the brain. While a hematoma refers to the bleeding to be more or less clotted, a hemorrhage refers to ongoing bleeding. They can be caused by blunt trauma, but also less forceful impact such as invasive dental procedures, or blood thinners. Most hematomas resolve slowly as the clotted blood is removed, and the blood vessel is repaired. Though surgery is also a common form of treatment. 7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
Penetration injuries are caused by objects actually entering (but not exiting) the skull, through the brain, and injuring brain tissue. Treatment is typically assessed by a surgeon based on thorough analysis and brain scans. These types of injuries are typically more serious and can result in relative disabilities.
The absence of oxygen supply to the brain, which kills brain cells, is known as anoxia. Even in a short timespan, cell death happens quickly and can result in damage to different brain systems, and in more serious cases can be fatal. Anoxia can be caused by health complications such as heart failure, stroke, severe allergies, or environmental factors such as high altitude, carbon monoxide, and smoke (each of which are caused by lack of oxygen or chemicals in the air). While milder symptoms of anoxia include bluish coloration of lips or fingernails, poor decision-making or dizziness, more serious symptoms in which you should seek immediate medical care include dilated pupils, seizures, and unconsciousness.
Overall, head injuries should never be taken lightly. Some head injuries may not exhibit signs right away. Though it’s helpful to know some of the general and common symptoms. Symptoms of a minor head injury include a spinning sensation, temporary and mild confusions, nausea, and lightheadedness. Signs of a severe head injury usually involves unconsciousness for over 24 hours, and include problems with balance or coordination, serious disorientation, memory loss, or loss of muscle control.
If you believe you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of a head injury, consult or see a doctor immediately. If you or a loved one are currently living with the challenges of a prior brain injury, contact your nearest Silverado location for support and to discuss care options.
Sources: 7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
7 Types of Brain Injuries You Should Know
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