Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A Short Guide to Brain Injuries

For those unfortunate to have one, a brain injury is a complex and challenging problem to deal with. 

Whether you have suffered a brain injury yourself, know someone who has one, or simply want to learn more about this unfortunate medial ailment, you’ve come to the right place.

In this short guide, we’ll explain what brain injuries are and what effects they typically bring with them.

What is a brain injury?

A brain injury is generally defined as damage to the brain. Brain injuries can be classified according to type and severity.

While general definitions are useful, it is important to note that each injury is different and the effects on the individual can differ greatly, requiring varying levels of care, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Traumatic brain injuries

The injury is classed as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if the damage results from an external force applied to the head. Damage is then categorised as mild, moderate, or severe depending on various parameters. 

Traumatic brain injuries can be divided into two further categories: closed head injuries and open or penetrating wounds.

    1. Closed head injuries

A closed head injury is not visible to the naked eye as there is no open wound. These types of injuries commonly occur as a result of rapid acceleration or deceleration, which causes the head to move violently forward, backward or from side to side. These types of injuries can damage nerve cells in the brain, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

    2. Open wounds

An open or penetrating wound is visible to the eye and can expose the open skull and brain. An injury such as this can result from being struck directly on the head and outcomes can vary depending on severity. 

An open wound tends to be localised to the area of the head that has been stuck, while the injury can also be coupled with the fibre damage caused by acceleration and deceleration forces.

Depending on the extent of the injury, the individual may require rehabilitation and support as well as costly specialist equipment.

Common causes of traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in a variety of ways, including:

  • Being hit in the head
  • Falling from a height
  • Or being involved in a collision

Brain injuries are even caused by incidents in contact sports such as American football, rugby, or boxing.

Acquired brain injuries

Also called non-traumatic brain injuries, acquired brain injuries (ABI) result from internal factors present in the brain. They have many causes, including strokes, brain tumours, haemorrhages, or a lack of oxygen to the brain. In some cases, acquired brain injuries are even present from birth. 

According to data released by Headway, there were more 355,000 UK admissions to hospital with ABI in 2019-20.

Common effects of brain injuries

In addition to the visible presence of a wound, an individual may show signs of suffering from a brain injury in a variety of ways.

Cognitive effects

These include difficulty performing different cognitive tasks, such as

  • Memory problems
  • Challenges with planning and organising
  • Difficulties solving problems
  • Poor concentration
  • And difficulties speaking

Behavioral effects

Brain injuries can also express themselves through behaviorally changes, such as sudden shifts in mood, anger management issues, and a lack of motivation. The patient may even suffer from secondary medical ailments or symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Vision impairments
  • Dizziness
  • And fatigue

Financial effects

Moreover, sufferers of brain injuries often experience financial effects, like:

  • Legal costs, such as the costs required to make a brain injury compensation claim
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of earnings
  • Care costs

This is a guest blog entry.

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