Traumatic Brain Injury – Causes, Effects and Signs infographic
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI?)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a multifaceted condition, not an event. Traumatic brain injury is broadly defined as an alteration in brain function or other evidence of brain pathology caused by an external force that can occur in traffic, at home, at work, during sports activities, and on the battlefield.
Traumatic brain injury is an important cause of death and disability for children and an exponentially increasing source of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Each year in the United States, at least 1.7 million people seek medical attention for TBI; it is a contributing factor in a third of all injury-related deaths.
Many more persons, particularly those with mild TBI, are never seen by a clinician. These injuries (at times considered to be “concussions”) are often dismissed by the medical community as mild with few or no consequences. Although no single definition of concussion is widely accepted, it typically affects orientation, memory, and may involve loss of consciousness.
Often, patients are not carefully followed up over time, despite the increasing appreciation that TBI can affect long-term physical, cognitive, emotional, and social domains of function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2% of the US population lives with disabilities directly attributable to TBI,2 with annual direct and indirect costs estimated at more than $76.5 billion.
Infographic: Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have many faces. Depending upon where a blow to the head strikes or if a person suffers a closed brain injury or an object penetrates the skull, these factors and more can determine the severity of the injury and how it impacts the person over the course of time.
There may be serious complications that affect a person’s everyday life, or only minor symptoms that go away over time. And depending on the force and extent of the initial injury, it’s often hard to tell if a person will fully recover.
Yet, TBI is often misunderstood and unrecognized. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year. In addition, 50,000 people die from TBI each year and 85,000 people suffer long term disabilities. Currently, more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. are living with disabilities caused by TBI.
How Does TBI Happen?
A traumatic brain injury can happen at any time. It can be caused by an accident while driving, on the job (particularly if you work near heavy equipment), or even while playing sports or engaging in recreational activities. A traumatic brain injury can be caused by the following:
- Being struck by an object in the head,
- When your head strikes an object (dashboard or the ground in a fall)
- A nearby blast or explosion (more common in military personnel)
How Severe is a TBI?
Most people are unaware of the severity of TBI, and how common it actually is. A football player can sustain a TBI from a hard blow to the head, and even he or she may remain conscious, there may be lingering effects, such as headache, difficulty thinking and memory issues, mood swings, and frustration. Even with a “mild” TBI, the symptoms may be devastating to the individual and the family.
With more severe TBI, such as a penetrating injury caused by a bullet or other object, the effects can be profound. Symptoms can range from severe impairment, loss of cognitive functions, or even comatose states. People who survive severe TBI may have limited use of their arms or legs, difficulty with language or speech, loss of the ability to think, or troubling emotional problems.
To help better understand TBI, we illustrate some of the main causes of TBI, symptoms, treatments, and long-term effects.
What are the Effects of TBI?
Most people are unaware of the scope of TBI or its overwhelming nature. TBI is a common injury and may be missed initially when the medical team is focused on saving the individual’s life. Before medical knowledge and technology advanced to control breathing with respirators and decrease intracranial pressure, which is the pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain, the death rate from traumatic brain injuries was very high. Although the medical technology has advanced significantly, the effects of TBI are significant.
TBI is classified into two categories: mild and severe.
A brain injury can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked. Even though this type of TBI is called “mild”, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating. Follow this link for more information on Mild TBI.
Severe brain injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury longer than 24 hours. The deficits range from impairment of higher level cognitive functions to comatose states. Survivors may have limited function of arms or legs, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems. The range of injuries and degree of recovery is very variable and varies on an individual basis. Follow this link for more information on Severe TBI.
The effects of TBI can be profound. Individuals with severe injuries can be left in long-term unresponsive states. For many people with severe TBI, long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. Even with mild TBI, the consequences to a person’s life can be dramatic. Change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction.
What are the Causes of TBI?
The number of people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is difficult to assess accurately but is much larger than most people would expect. According to the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year. 50,000 people die from TBI each year and 85,000 people suffer long term disabilities. In the U.S., more than 5.3 million people live with disabilities caused by TBI. Patients admitted to a hospital for TBI are included in this count, while those treated in an emergency room or doctor’s office are not counted.
The causes of TBI are diverse. The top three causes are: car accident, firearms and falls. Firearm injuries are often fatal: 9 out of 10 people die from their injuries. Young adults and the elderly are the age groups at highest risk for TBI. Along with a traumatic brain injury, persons are also susceptible to spinal cord injuries which is another type of traumatic injury that can result out of vehicle crashes, firearms and falls. Prevention of TBI is the best approach since there is no cure.
Mechanisms of Injury
These mechanisms are the highest causes of brain injury: Open head Injury, Closed Head Injury, Deceleration Injuries, Chemical/Toxic, Hypoxia, Tumors, Infections and Stroke.
1. Open Head Injury
- Results from bullet wounds, etc.
- Largely focal damage
- Penetration of the skull
- Effects can be just as serious as closed brain injury
2. Closed Head Injury
- Resulting from a slip and fall, motor vehicle crashes, etc.
- Focal damage and diffuse damage to axons
- Effects tend to be broad (diffuse)
- No penetration to the skull
3. Deceleration Injuries (Diffuse Axonal Injury)
The skull is hard and inflexible while the brain is soft with the consistency of gelatin. The brain is encased inside the skull. During the movement of the skull through space (acceleration) and the rapid discontinuation of this action when the skull meets a stationary object (deceleration) causes the brain to move inside the skull. The brain moves at a different rate than the skull because it is soft. Different parts of the brain move at different speeds because of their relative lightness or heaviness. The differential movement of the skull and the brain when the head is struck results in direct brain injury, due to diffuse axonal shearing, contusion and brain swelling.
Diffuse axonal shearing: when the brain is slammed back and forth inside the skull it is alternately compressed and stretched because of the gelatinous consistency. The long, fragile axons of the neurons (single nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord) are also compressed and stretched. If the impact is strong enough, axons can be stretched until they are torn. This is called axonal shearing. When this happens, the neuron dies. After a severe brain injury, there is massive axonal shearing and neuron death.
4. Chemical / Toxic
- Also known as metabolic disorders
- This occurs when harmful chemicals damage the neurons
- Chemicals and toxins can include insecticides, solvents, carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, etc.
5. Hypoxia (Lack of Oxygen)
- If the blood flow is depleted of oxygen, then irreversible brain injury can occur from anoxia (no oxygen) or hypoxia (reduced oxygen)
- It may take only a few minutes for this to occur
- This condition may be caused by heart attacks, respiratory failure, drops in blood pressure and a low oxygen environment
- This type of brain injury can result in severe cognitive and memory deficits
- Tumors caused by cancer can grow on or over the brain
- Tumors can cause brain injury by invading the spaces of the brain and causing direct damage
- Damage can also result from pressure effects around an enlarged tumor
- Surgical procedures to remove the tumor may also contribute to brain injury
- The brain and surrounding membranes are very prone to infections if the special blood-brain protective system is breached
- Viruses and bacteria can cause serious and life-threatening diseases of the brain (encephalitis) and meninges (meningitis)
- If blood flow is blocked through a cerebral vascular accident (stroke), cell death in the area deprived of blood will result
- If there is bleeding in or over the brain (hemorrhage or hematoma) because of a tear in an artery or vein, loss of blood flow and injury to the brain tissue by the blood will also result in brain damage.
Traumatic Brain Injury Explained (Infographic)
The majority of people are unlikely to know much about brain injury, the causes, effects and signs etc. That is why this infographic was created by Leigh Day, brain and spinal injury claims specialists, to help provide an alternative method of educating the general public all about traumatic brain injury.
But also unknown to most is what happens once you have suffered from a brain injury. Besides focusing on recovering and adapting your whole lifestyle, many people find it some consolation that they can make a claim for compensation against whoever was to blame if the injury was the fault of someone else.
For anybody seeking compensation through a solicitor and closure when they have been hurt it is important to ensure those acting on your behalf are experts in the field. The dedicated efforts of the solicitors at Leigh Day have resulted in significant compensation for victims of Brain and spinal injuries, including those affected by Cerebral Palsy.
They provide a step by step guide to the whole process and help victims and families to recover costs to ensure that despite such an injury the individual can enjoy a quality of life, education and purchase of essential equipment to support their condition by gaining maximum compensation.
The Basics Everyone Should Know About TBI [Infographic]
Sometimes writing about traumatic brain injury facts doesn’t get the point across well enough. Saying that more than 1.7 million cases of TBI occur every year, as the CDC has estimated, just doesn’t make most realize how many brain injuries that really is.
This is where infographics are the most helpful, when statistics are so large that they become hard for us to comprehend without some sort of visual aid. Similarly, some just have trouble remembering symptoms or side-effects of traumatic brain injury and need a reliably reference they can turn to when they suspect someone they know has suffered TBI.
I normally don’t share things I find about TBI written by law firms because they tend to be biased for obvious business reasons, but d’Oliveira & Associates created an infographic with nothing but facts, which is pretty hard to skew.
For more information visit us our website: https://www.healthinfi.com0 200