Traumatic brain injuries can lead to higher morbidity and mortality rates. They can also cause permanent disabilities. Hence, it is the need of the hour to identify them at the right time and improve quality of life, said Dr Tushau Prasad, consultant emergency medicine, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road
Here’s everything you need to know about brain injuries. Don’t take any symptoms lightly, the expert stressed.
A traumatic brain injury can be a result of a violent blow or jolt to the head or one’s body. One may also encounter it owing to a fall. Falling from a bed, ladder, and stairs can also induce it, mainly in senior citizens and children. Other factors include road accidents like collisions involving cars, motorcycles, or bicycles, violence, sports injuries due to boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports, and exclusive blasts.
“A mild traumatic brain injury may affect the brain cells on a temporary basis. But, a serious injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and damage to the brain ultimately leading to loss of life,” said Dr Prasad added.
One may exhibit a wide range of physical and psychological signs on an immediate basis or even after a few weeks.
Some of the physical symptoms include notorious headaches, speech problems, inability to balance, walk, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even fatigue. Sensory symptoms include blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and light sensitivity. Cognitive, psychological, and behavioural symptoms such as confusion, brain fog, disorientation, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, agitation, mood swings, depression, anxiety, memory loss, difficulty in sleeping, brain swelling, convulsions or seizures, loss of coordination, and weakness or numbness in fingers and toes may also be experienced.
“You need to see a doctor on an immediate basis when you notice these symptoms after a traumatic injury. Delaying treatment is dangerous for the patient,” mentioned Dr Prasad.
A person become unconscious and go in a coma. This can damage his/her brain, and the person will go into a vegetative state. “During this stage, he/she will be unaware of the surroundings, though the person will open eyes but may fail to understand what is going around. Not only this, a traumatic injury can also cause brain death. Other issues like altered smell and taste, loss of vision, facial paralysis, and even double vision can be seen in these patients,” mentioned Dr Prasad.
How to overcome a traumatic brain injury
One suffering from a traumatic brain injury will require rehabilitation. As per Dr Prasad, an occupational therapist can help one to learn and improve daily activities while a physical therapist will work on mobility and movement patterns, balance and walking. A speech and language therapist will guide in improving communication skills while a neuropsychologist will help one deal with cognitive impairment, behaviours or learn coping strategies.
Tips to prevent a traumatic brain injury
*Wear a seatbelt while driving a car to avoid accidents and brain injury.
*Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.
*Use a helmet while riding a motorbike or a bicycle.
*Avoid accidental falls by installing handrails in bathrooms.
*Remove rugs that can lead to falls and injuries.
*Use handrails on both sides of staircases.
*Improve lighting in the home.
*Keep stairs and floors clear of clutter.
*Go for regular eye check-ups.
*Avoid wet and slippery floors.