Medically speaking, a traumatic brain injury occurs whenever the brain is damaged by an injury -- even a mild concussion counts. Traumatic brain injury is usually caused by a violent blow to the head, causing the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. Brain injury can also occur when an object, such as a bullet or skull fragment, enters the brain.
Mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death.
Mild traumatic brain injury can cause a temporary dysfunction of brain cells, leading to headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, fatigue, and mood changes. A more serious brain injury can result in bruising, internal bleeding and other brain damage. This can lead to long-term complications or death. Symptoms of a more serious brain injury may include vomiting or nausea, dilated pupils, slurred speech, numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
Don't Underestimate Concussions
Concussions are underreported and under diagnosed. Concussions account for 90% of head injuries, amounting to millions of cases each year.1
Even a mild concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury. About 20% of patients diagnosed with concussions do not recover. Common symptoms include attention and memory problems, headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty balancing. Symptoms can last for hours, up to several months.
Proper diagnosis and monitoring is critical in determining what activities, if any, in which the patient can safely participate.
Brain swelling increases with every additional concussion a person experiences in his/her lifetime. It's important to have an accurate diagnosis for all head injuries so your doctor can predict the damage and swelling that will occur. Excessive swelling may constrict the blood vessels in your brain, leading to permanent damage or death. Patients should follow their doctor's orders carefully following a brain injury, to prevent additional damage.