What Are the Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Posted in Brain injury on July 18, 2018
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a brain injury that arises from an external force, such as a blow or bump to the head. If the jolt is hard enough, it could move the brain around inside the skull, resulting in swelling, bleeding, tissue tears, or other brain injuries. A victim’s odds of recovering from a TBI depend largely on how quickly he or she receives medical care. Learn the signs of traumatic brain injury to be able to respond quickly if you or someone near you gets into an accident.
Confusion or Disorientation
Confusion is one of the most common signs that someone has suffered a brain injury. Someone not knowing what happened, what day it is, or who they are could point to problems within the brain. Memory loss is also common and can vary in severity depending on the head injury. Minor TBIs such as concussions can cause short-term memory loss, such as the inability to remember the events leading up to the head injury. More serious TBIs such as penetrating head injuries and hematoma (bleeding in the brain) could cause more extensive gaps in memory.
Nausea or Vomiting
Many patients with TBIs complain of feeling nauseous, losing their appetites, or vomiting. Vertigo, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, and sensitivity to light and sounds can all contribute to nausea. Listen to someone if he or she is complaining of stomachache or loss of appetite after a blow to the head or violent shaking, such as on a roller coaster. The person might have a traumatic brain injury.
Loss of Consciousness
Blacking out is a common response to sustaining a TBI. The more severe the brain injury, the longer the victim may lose consciousness. A football player with a minor concussion, for example, might come to within a few seconds, while a car crash victim with a severe TBI might be in a coma for days or weeks before waking up. Note, however, that just because someone doesn’t lose consciousness doesn’t mean that person is in the clear. Not everyone will black out from a TBI.
Drowsiness or Fatigue
Feeling tired may occur after sustaining a brain injury. If someone who was wide awake before the incident suddenly wants to go lie down or fall asleep, it could be a sign of damage to the brain. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to let someone with a brain injury rest. In fact, sleep can help the brain heal. Just make sure the victim goes to a doctor as soon as possible. The only time you shouldn’t let someone with a possible concussion go to sleep is if that person is exhibiting signs of a more serious brain injury, such as trouble walking, dilated pupils, or vomiting.
Damage to the brain’s delicate nerves and tissues can present itself as neurological difficulties. Someone with a TBI may have problems walking, talking, moving, or balancing. Slurred speech and trouble forming thoughts and words are all signs that the brain has an injury. Immediately take someone showing neurological or cognitive signs of a TBI to the nearest hospital.
Clear Fluids Draining From Nose or Ears
The most serious brain injuries can cause clear fluids to appear in the nose and/or ears. This is cerebral fluid leaking through fissures in the skull. If this happens, seek emergency medical care. It is possible to treat a cerebral fluid leak that results from head trauma, but prompt medical attention is crucial.
Symptoms of a TBI can be subtle. If you notice anything amiss with yourself or someone you know after a bump to the head, go to the hospital. Only medical tests and scans can diagnose a TBI. The sooner you visit a hospital, the better for your health prognosis. The first 24 hours after a brain injury are critical for acting to heal the brain.