What is TBI?

CT Scan of the human brain with a subdural hematoma

Chicago – April 18, 2020 

By Rhea Sharma

Most brain surgeries occur for reasons like a possible brain tumor, or blood-vessel-related issues (hemorrhages or hematomas). Damage to brain dura (tissue), infections, or skull fractures are other, less common reasons for brain surgeries. 

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are more common than the average person would expect, and if untreated, can have fatal consequences. By exploring some of the most common symptoms, causes, and treatment, we can begin to encourage more knowledge of the subject and subsequent community awareness. 

Mild traumatic brain injuries usually have rather temporary consequences, but should nevertheless be treated. Common physical symptoms to look out for include loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, speech problems, sleep irregularities, and dizziness. Other sensory and cognitive symptoms include blurred vision, ringing in ears, sensitivity, memory problems, and mood changes. Moderate to severe TBIs can include any of these symptoms, as well as other symptoms that may arise after an injury, including a persistent headache, seizures, pupil dilation, numbness, loss of coordination, large amounts of confusion, slurred speech, and even coma. While these symptoms can go unnoticed, it is important to contact a doctor immediately, following notable irregularities in your physical, sensory, or cognitive areas. 

TBIs are most often caused by a blow or injury to the head. These injuries are usually instances of falls, vehicle collisions, sports injuries, and violence. Care should be taken to avoid such instances through the preventative use of seat belts and airbags, helmets, and safe driving habits. 

In rare cases, TBIs can lead to debilitating complications. Instances of altered consciousness like coma or brain death can occur, and physical complications like seizures, fluid buildup, infections, or severe blood vessel damage can occur. Other complications include cognitive or behavioral irregularities. 

Typically, imaging tests are used in order to diagnose TBI severity and begin the treatment process. CT scans and MRIs help reveal evidence of bleeding in the brain, fractures, blood clots, or brain tissue swelling. Treatment is typically a combination of medication and surgery. Medication usually includes diuretics, which reduce the amount of fluids and reduce pressure, and anti-seizure drugs, which are used preventively, as brain injury puts people at high risk for seizures. Surgery is also used to minimize any additional damage to brain tissues. 

In conclusion, we can understand that while TBIs may seem like rare cases, it is important to remember that TBIs are a major cause of death and disability worldwide. It is crucial to stay informed on such medical conditions and understand their common symptoms in order to ensure a quick diagnosis. We hope to increase awareness at all levels, and we hope that this piece helped you stay informed. 

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