Serious head injuries can result from falls, car accidents, and assaults. When these injuries are severe, they are traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, TBIs result from sudden, violent impacts on the head, or they can result from penetrating injuries. No matter the underlying cause, it is important to understand what can happen, so that timely medical assistance is sought.
Symptoms of TBI
Symptoms typically depend on the severity of the damage. When effects are minor, people often experience dizziness, minor headaches, ringing in the ears, disorientation, problems remembering, and blurred vision. More serious effects include a persistent, worsening headache, nausea, loss of consciousness, lack of balance, agitation, and weakness in the arms and legs.
Regardless of the severity of symptoms, injury victims should receive an examination from a doctor as soon as possible. More significant symptoms require emergency medical care, while less serious symptoms require a follow-up with a primary care doctor soon after the injury.
Treatment of severe head injuries
Immediate medical care includes the use of diagnostic testing to determine the severity of the damage. Doctors will ensure the brain receives a sufficient flow of oxygen and blood to remain healthy. They will also work to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Once the patient is stable, further diagnostic testing occurs to look for additional issues, such as spinal fractures. Depending on the diagnosis, the patient may receive therapy to restore movement and function, or to build strength in muscles. Speech therapy can also occur if the area of the brain injured is responsible for communication.
The outlook for TBI depends on the severity of the injury. Minor damage usually results in a full recovery, while more serious effects require ongoing therapy and rehabilitation. When damage is significant, the person may remain unconscious or unresponsive to external stimuli.