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Could you be suffering from traumatic brain injury?

If you sustained an impact to the head, traumatic brain injury numbers among the possible consequences. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of TBI, as are falls.

The blow to your head does not have to cause a penetrating wound to do serious and lasting damage to the brain. This kind of injury can continue to affect your health, ability to work and everyday functioning for many years.

Effects can range widely

As the brain functions as the body's control center, damage to any part of it can result in impairment or loss of function in the limbs, cognitive abilities, memory and speech, depending on the specific area of the brain involved. As TBI can also cause hemorrhage, the damage can spread over time.

Severe TBI can have drastic consequences

Severe TBI usually manifests in a loss of consciousness lasting 30 minutes or more, as well as loss of memory. Some people may begin experiencing other symptoms fairly soon while others take a few days. These symptoms may include seizures, blinding headaches, loss of bodily function, inability to speak or understand speech, and even coma. Not everyone can recover; those that do may need surgery, medication and extensive rehabilitative therapy to manage their symptoms and regain some function.

Moderate TBI can be hard to identify

Moderate TBI generally begins with passing out for less than 30 minutes. Some people pass out so briefly they do not remember doing so and may not even know they hit their heads. Symptoms may take days and even weeks to set in and may come disguised as signs of common ailments.

However, if you recently sustained an accident, even seemingly innocuous changes can signal TBI. In the weeks following an accident, watch for headaches, nausea, dizziness, memory lapses, mild speech or movement problems, increased inattention, blurred vision and mood swings. Seeking medical attention promptly can set you on the way to getting the treatment you need.

Some people have difficulty getting a diagnosis for a moderate TBI. This is because the types of imaging commonly used may not always reflect the damage involved. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor with experience in diagnosing and treating this type of condition.

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