Today, we are going to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury. Not forgetting, the human brain is the central organ of the human nervous system, and the spinal cord makes up the central nervous system.
The brain consists of the cerebrum, the brainstem, and the cerebellum. And it controls most of the activities of the body, processing, integrating, and coordinating the information it receives from the sense organs. As well as, making decisions as to the instructions sent to the rest of the body.
For your information, the brain is contained in, and protected by, the skull bones of the head. It can be hard to assess how serious a head injury is just by looking. Some minor head injuries bleed a lot, while some major injuries don’t bleed at all.
So, it’s important to treat all head injuries seriously and get them assessed by a doctor.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), also known as Intracranial Injury, occurs when an external force injures the human brain. In other words, it can be classified based on severity, the mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury). Or even, other features (e.g., occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area).
So to speak, head injury is a broader category that may involve damage to other structures such as the scalp and skull. Also, TBI can result in physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. And the outcome can range from complete recovery to permanent disability or death.
A head injury is any sort of injury to your brain, skull, or scalp. This can range from a mild bump or bruise to a traumatic brain injury. Common head injuries include concussions, skull fractures, and scalp wounds. The consequences and treatments vary greatly, depending on what caused your head injury and how severe it is.
Head injuries may be either closed or open. A closed head injury is any injury that doesn’t break your skull. An open (penetrating) head injury is one in which something breaks your scalp and skull and enters your brain. See the general types of head damage & traumatic brain injury below;
1. Skull Fracture
Unlike most bones in your body, your skull doesn’t have bone marrow. This makes the skull very strong and difficult to break.
A broken skull is unable to absorb the impact of a blow, making it more likely that there’ll also be damage to your brain.
A hematoma is a collection, or clotting, of blood outside the blood vessels.
It can be very serious if a hematoma occurs in the brain. The clotting can lead to pressure building up inside your skull. This can cause you to lose consciousness or result in permanent brain damage.
Subarachnoid hemorrhages often cause headaches and vomiting. The severity of intracerebral hemorrhages depends on how much bleeding there is. But, over time any amount of blood can cause pressure buildup.
Any brain injury can lead to edema or swelling. Many injuries cause swelling of the surrounding tissues, but it’s more serious when it occurs in your brain.
Your skull can’t stretch to accommodate the swelling. This leads to pressure buildup in your brain, causing your brain to press against your skull.
A concussion occurs when the impact on the head is severe enough to cause brain injury. It’s thought to be the result of the brain hitting against the hard walls of your skull or the forces of sudden acceleration and deceleration.
And generally speaking, the loss of function associated with a concussion is temporary. However, repeated concussions can eventually lead to permanent damage.
6. Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury (sheer injury) is an injury to the brain that doesn’t cause bleeding but does damage the brain cells. The damage to the brain cells results in them not being able to function. It can also result in swelling, causing more damage.
Though it isn’t as outwardly visible as other forms of brain injury, a diffuse axonal injury is one of the most dangerous types of head injuries. It can lead to permanent brain damage and even death.
Facts about Head Damage & Traumatic Brain Injury
The cortex is split into the neocortex and the much smaller allocortex. The neocortex is made up of six neuronal layers, while the allocortex has three or four. Each hemisphere is conventionally divided into four lobes – the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes.
The frontal lobe is associated with executive functions including self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought, while the occipital lobe is dedicated to vision. Within each lobe, cortical areas are associated with specific functions, such as the sensory, motor, and association regions.
Although the left and right hemispheres are broadly similar in shape and function, some functions are associated with one side. Such as the language in the left and visual-spatial ability in the right. The hemispheres are connected by commissural nerve tracts, the largest being the corpus callosum.
In general, head injuries can be divided into two categories based on what causes them. They can either be head injuries due to blows to the head or head injuries due to shaking.
1. A Basic Head Injury
Equally, head injuries caused by shaking are most common in infants and small children, but they can occur at any time you experience violent shaking.
Head injuries caused by a blow to the head are usually associated with:
- motor vehicle accidents
- sudden or unprepared falls
- vigorous physical assaults
- sports-related accidents
In most cases, your skull will protect your brain from serious harm. However, injuries severe enough to cause head injury can also be associated with injuries to the spine.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) causes include falls, vehicle collisions, and or even violence. Brain trauma occurs as a consequence of a sudden acceleration or deceleration within the cranium or by a complex combination of both movement and sudden impact.
In addition to the damage caused at the moment of injury, a variety of events following the injury may result in further injury. These processes include alterations in cerebral blood flow and the pressure within the skull.
What are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
On one hand, TBI is one of two subsets of acquired brain injury (brain damage that occurs after birth). While a subset is a non-traumatic brain injury, which does not involve external mechanical force (examples include stroke and infection).
On the other hand, all traumatic brain injuries are head injuries, but the latter term may also refer to injury to other parts of the head. However, the terms of head injury and brain injury are often used interchangeably.
Brain injuries fall under the classification of central nervous system injuries and neurotrauma. In the Neuropsychology research literature, in general, the term “traumatic brain injury” is used to refer to non-penetrating traumatic brain injuries.
Your head has more blood vessels than any other part of your body. So bleeding on the surface of your brain or within your brain is a serious concern in head injuries. However, not all head injuries cause bleeding. It’s therefore, important to be aware of other symptoms to watch out for.
Common symptoms of a minor head injury
Many symptoms of serious brain injury won’t appear right away.
Therefore, you should always continue to monitor your symptoms for several days after you injure your head.
Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury
The symptoms of a severe head injury include many of the symptoms of minor head injuries.
But, they can also include the following:
- a loss of consciousness
- seizures and vomiting
- balance or coordination problems
- serious disorientation
- an inability to focus the eyes
- abnormal eye movements
- a loss of muscle control
- a persistent or worsening headache
- memory loss
- changes in mood
- leaking of clear fluid from the ear or the nose
Which are the Preventive Measures?
In the first place, unlike other forms of bodily injuries and or accidents, traumatic brain injury is highly preventable. However, head injuries shouldn’t be taken lightly.
See your doctor right away if you think you have the symptoms of a serious head injury. And in particular, you should always seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following. Like a loss of consciousness, confusion, or even disorientation.
In the case of a potentially serious head injury, you should always call 911 or your local emergency services. Motion can sometimes make a head injury worse. Also, not forgetting, emergency medical personnel are trained to move injured people carefully without causing more damage.
Other preventive measures include;
- use of seat belts and helmets,
- not drinking and driving,
- fall prevention efforts in older adults,
- and safety measures for children.
Secondly, depending on the injury, the treatment required may be minimal.
It may include interventions such as medications, emergency surgery, or surgery years later.
Other means of immediate care include:
The 20th century saw developments in diagnosis and treatment that decreased death rates in TBI cases with improved outcomes.
How is Traumatic Brain Injury treated?
The treatment for head injuries depends on both the type and the severity of the injury. With minor head injuries, there are often no symptoms other than pain at the site of the injury. In these cases, you may be told to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the pain.
You shouldn’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin (Bayer). These can make any bleeding worse. And if you have an open cut, your doctor may use sutures or staples to close it. They’ll then cover it with a bandage.
Even if your injury seems minor, you should still watch your condition to make sure it doesn’t get worse. It isn’t true that you shouldn’t go to sleep after you have injured your head. But you should be woken up every two hours or so to check for any new symptoms.
Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. With males sustaining traumatic brain injuries more frequently than do females.
The treatment you receive at the hospital will depend on your diagnosis. You should go back to the doctor if you develop any new or worsening symptoms.
Finally, I hope you gathered something from the above-revised guide on traumatic brain injury awareness. You can read and learn more about the Human Brain.
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