Every year in the United States, one and a half million people will have a TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those people, 50,000 will die, and 85,000 will have life long disabilities as a result of TBI. A TBI can lead to very serious problems, including epilepsy, coma, cognitive fatigue, concussion, hearing disorders, balance disorders, loss of taste, smell or other senses, impaired perception, diminished concentration, loss of memory, and impulsive behavior, as well as death.
Many Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
As the name indicates, this type of brain injury is caused by trauma. Trauma, however, could mean a wide range of different things. Teenagers and older people are at the greatest risk of TBI. There are three ways that a TBI can occur – either by the head being struck with force, the head striking an object with force, or by the brain moving due to some type of force. There are two types of TBI, open head and closed head. With open headed TBI, the injury is visible, in that the head is actually opened. A closed head injury means that there is no outward appearance that an injury has occurred, other than some bruising on the head that may or may not be noticeable.
It is also important to understand what ‘force’ means in this context. Even a minimal amount of force when the head is struck, or the head strikes an object is enough to cause a TBI. A simple bump on the head could be enough.
Most people associate traumatic brain injury with accidents. For example, a person may be in an automobile accident, or get hit hard at a sporting event, or simply fall and hit their heads hard enough to cause brain injury. These types of accidents are not the only causes of traumatic brain injury, however. The top three causes of a TBI are automobile accidents, gun shots, and falls, with falls accounting for approximately 28% of all TBIs.
According to Traumatic Brain Injury News, this is why it is essential to use safety gear as often as possible. To avoid a TBI, you should use air bags, safety helmets, and other safety devices, and take advantage of different types of safety classes, such as firearm safety classes.
Drugs, Toxins, and TBI
If the brain is exposed to certain toxins or drugs, a TBI can occur. This includes the use of illegal drugs. Even household chemical exposure can cause a traumatic brain injury. This includes chemicals used to kill pests and chemicals used in household cleaning products. Additionally, carbon monoxide poisoning and lead poisoning can cause a TBI.
With some chemicals, very little exposure can cause a TBI. With others, it may take a great deal of exposure at one time, or regular exposure over a long period of time to cause the injury.
According to Brain and Spinal Cord, the substance abuse itself may not lead to a TBI, but other results of the abuse may cause a TBI, such as having an accident when you or someone else is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other abuse related TBI can be caused by heart attacks or strokes, vascular disruption, infectious diseases, metabolic disorders, AIDS, and more.
Medical Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
Sometimes a medical condition can cause a traumatic brain injury. The most common example of this is a stroke – where the brain is injured due to the blood flow being blocked. Another common medical cause of a traumatic brain injury is a tumor. When the tumor grows, it compresses certain areas of the brain – and there is only so much room in the skull. In some cases, the tumor does not cause the TBI, but a surgery to remove the tumor could cause a TBI.
According to Traumatic Brain Injury, infections can cause TBI. The brain and the membranes that surround the brain are prone to infections if the blood brain barrier is breached. Viruses and bacteria can also result in TBI. Examples of this are meningitis and encephalitis.
According to Traumatic Brain Injury News, closed head TBIs can be the most dangerous, in regard to the fact that they are often not treated as they should be treated. The consensus is that the medical community simply is not trained well enough in neurobehavior, and as a result, the patient often misses out on treatment that is essential to recovering their old lives, before the brain injury occurred.
Sources: www.traumaticbraininjury.com, www.cdc.gov, www.brainandspinalcord.org, www.traumaticbraininjurynews.com, www.neurologychannel.com
February 17th, 2011
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