Feb 26 2010

The Invisible Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the most life-threatening bodily harms that can come to people is traumatic brain injury. This is a sudden, physical trauma to the brain acquired non-congenitally, through external force often typified in various catastrophic accidents and violence.  While the dangerous condition of a person suffering from an open head injury is readily perceptible, the consequences of closed head injuries are not. Nevertheless, all traumatic brain injuries often lead to an array of possible consequences that can persist throughout a person’s lifetime.

Primary and Secondary Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are classified into primary and secondary types.

Primary injuries are those that directly occur at the moment of trauma. These include contusions, blood vessel damage, and axonal shearing where the long ends of brain cells are stretched and torn. In primary injuries, brain cells and tissues may deform and die, drastically altering brain function.

Secondary injuries are indirect results of the trauma, usually as results of complex cellular processes and biochemical cascades initiated by primary injuries. These injury aftershocks can damage areas previously unharmed in the initial trauma and occurs minutes to days after sustaining injury. Secondary injuries include reduced blood and oxygen flow to the brain, low blood pressure, edema or swelling of the brain, and raised pressure within the skull, all of which substantially likely to have further serious effects on the brain, the body, overall body function, and even on the life of the injured person itself.

Signs and Symptoms

While all these injuries can occur, they may not be readily apparent, invisible dangers that can sometimes elude even sophisticated medical technology. Nevertheless, there are physical signs and symptoms to look for to help confirm brain injury. Unconsciousness is one common sign. Other symptoms include dizziness, difficulty balancing, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, unequal pupil size, ringing in the ears, and a bad taste in the mouth among others. Cognitive and emotional symptoms include changes in mood and behavior, and problems with memory, concentration, and thinking.

While traumatic brain injuries can be mild and do not cause permanent or long-term disability, all severity levels of traumatic brain injuries have the potential to cause significant, long-lasting disability that can affect overall quality of life.

Additional legal site: Personal Injury Lawyer Elan Wurtzel. Providing legal assistance in the Long Island area.

This article is intended to provide only general information on the topic and not as legal advice.