Learn a little more about traumatic brain injuries, acquired brain injuries, and concussions.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) results from an external physical impact to the head, resulting in an alteration in brain function.
Acquired brain injury (ABI) describes any brain injury which occurs after birth and is not hereditary, congenital, or degenerative. Sometimes, TBIs are also referred to as ABIs. Some other examples of ABIs include tumors, stroke, carbon monoxide poisoning, and seizure disorders.
Severity of TBI ranges from mild to severe, and not every blow to the head results in a TBI. Severity is evaluated using the Glasgow Coma Scale, which gives a score on three factors: eye opening, verbal and motor response. The resulting score is between 3-15.
- Severe Traumatic Brain Injury = 3-8
- Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury = 8-12
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury = 12-15
Men are more likely to die and have more hospitalizations as a result of TBI than women. Death and hospitalization as a result of TBI is more common for those age 65 and older. The leading cause of death and hospitalization varies with age group. Overall, the causes are:
- Falls: 40.5%
- Unknown/other: 19%
- Motor vehicle: 14%
- Struck by/against: 15.5%
- Assault: 10.7%
Mild traumatic brain injuries are often referred to as concussions. Just because the injury is categorized as “mild,” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Up to 15% of people with a concussion diagnosis may have lasting symptoms, but early medical intervention can significantly decrease the likelihood of experiencing lasting symptoms.
Concussions typically occur when there is a loss of consciousness of 30 minutes or less. Signs and symptoms include:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Anxiety or depression
- Sensitivity to light
- Visual or hearing disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
If a concussion is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. Follow your physician’s recommendations in order to allow your brain to recover properly. You will need to get a lot of rest and avoid any physically or mentally demanding activities. Your doctor will provide direction on when you should return to your normal activities.