Archive for the ‘TBI’ Category

Can Someone Die From a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury can have severe, long-lasting consequences.

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There have been rare cases in which an individual who suffered a traumatic brain injury passed away, many years later, with no obvious signs or cause of death. There are generally no signs of foul play in such cases, either. Experts are still unclear on what would lead to such an unexpected passing, however. All signs of the traumatic brain injury were addressed. Why would someone simply die from their injury many years later? So, can someone die from a traumatic brain injury? Absolutely, but the circumstances surrounding such a death are often mysterious and basked in questions.

Brain Injuries May Increase Risk of an Early Death

According to recent studies, an individual who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury may experience a higher risk of early death. The risks that typically follow include another brain injury, assault, and suicide. Furthermore, the risks of psychiatric or drug abuse issues are also dramatically increased following a brain injury. According to lead researcher Dr. Seena Fazel, a Wellcome Trust research fellow at the University of Oxford in England, “patients have a threefold increased risk of dying prematurely.” Three times more likely! That is a profound increase.

Furthermore, the same study revealed that 61 percent of traumatic brain injury patients suffered from psychiatric or substance abuse issues. In some cases, these issues were often present before the injury, while others developed them after their injury.

TBI Facts

We have discussed that it is entirely possible for an individual to pass away earlier than expected because of a past traumatic brain injury. Let us now explore the facts surrounding traumatic brain injuries one step further:

• In 2013, nearly 2.8 million traumatic brain injury patients were brought to emergency rooms.
• Traumatic brain injuries also accounted for nearly 50,000 deaths.
• From 2007 to 2013, the rate at which TBI victims passed away decreased by 5 percent, while emergency room visits increased by nearly 47 percent.

Traumatic brain injuries are quite severe. However, in recent years, as we can see by the increase in emergency room visits, recognition and understanding of the issue at hand have become more pronounced across the country. With sports being the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries, greater steps are taken to promote health and well-being both on the field/track and off.

Currently, the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries is actually bicycling. Most people would say football, boxing, or wrestling. However, bicycle accidents tend to cause more traumatic brain injuries than any other type of activity or sport. It truly pays to remain safe and take precautions against such injuries while performing any strenuous or potentially dangerous activities. Wearing a helmet, for example, can save your life and reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, support them in any way possible. When you need support of your own, know that TryMunity is the leading community for traumatic brain injury patients and their families.

Lean more about TryMunity and join our network today at community.trymunity.com!

Sports With the Most Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury requires immediate medical attention.

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Despite their prevalence, sports-related injuries rarely lead to fatalities. However, when such injuries do lead to death, the leading cause is a traumatic brain injury. In fact, around 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children and adolescents are due to sports activities. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 446,788 sports-related head injuries occurred in the United States in 2009. That is an increase of nearly 100,000 since 2008. Today, the numbers are even higher. The types of sports vary, as do the level of injury. That does not lessen their impact in any way, though.

Sports Injuries

According to the statistics from research performed in 2009, there are 20 sports or recreational activities that contribute to traumatic brain injuries across the United States. Some of these sports are genuinely surprising. Let us take a look:

  • Cycling: 85,389
  • Football: 46,948
  • Baseball and Softball: 38,394
  • Basketball: 34,692
  • Water: 28,716
  • Powered Recreational: 26,606
  • Soccer: 24,184
  • Skateboards/Scooters: 23,114
  • Fitness/Exercise/Health Club: 18,012
  • Winter Sports: 16,948
  • Horseback Riding: 14,466
  • Gymnastics/Dance/Cheerleading: 10,223
  • Golf: 10,035
  • Hockey: 8,145
  • Other Ball Sports and Balls, Unspecified: 6,883
  • Trampolines: 5,919
  • Rugby/Lacrosse: 5,794
  • Roller and Inline Skating: 3,320
  • Ice Skating: 4,608

It is incredibly surprising to learn that, despite what most people think, football is not the number one sports-related cause of traumatic brain injuries. The contact sport still leads to plenty of head injuries across the nation, however, cycling takes the number one spot. Far too many individuals do not wear their helmet while cycling, or they wear an improperly-sized helmet that could fall off during an accident. Either way, the situation leads to traumatic brain injuries quite often.

Levels of Sports-Related TBIs

Following any sort of head injury during sports or recreational activities, a thorough medical evaluation is required. During the evaluation, most injured patients will undergo a neurocognitive test before anything else. A baseline must be established for normal brain function, including tests of memory, attention, problem-solving, and other mental capabilities.

Furthermore, following such an injury, there is a grading system used to determine the severity of the traumatic brain injury. It is as follows:

  • Grade 1 – Mild physical trauma, such as a contusion or bump.
  • Grade 2 – Headaches, often migraine-like, with accompanying symptoms.
  • Grade 3 – Mild traumatic brain injury, often with a sudden change to mental capacity or consciousness.
  • Grade 4 – TBI with loss of consciousness for over 1 minute, amnesia for longer than 30 minutes, but less than 24 hours.
  • Grade 5 – Severe TBI, often life-threatening, with physical injuries, internal bleeding, increased intracranial pressure, loss of consciousness, amnesia lasting longer than 24 hours.

A traumatic brain injury, no matter the grade or severity, can be quite dangerous if not examined by a medical professional immediately. Please do not hesitate to seek out medical assistance. Either go to an emergency room or your family doctor, depending on the severity of the injury, quickly.

TryMunity is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness and offering support to traumatic brain injury survivors and their families. See support of your own by joining our network at community.trymunity.com.

What’s the Right Treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury often requires prompt treatment that comes in numerous forms.

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There are numerous types of traumatic brain injury (TBI) affecting over 1.5 million Americans every single year. As a consequence of such injuries, over 230,000 are hospitalized, while nearly 50,000 succumb to their injuries and pass away. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these numbers are rising each year. Despite the profound advances in TBI research and treatment, more and more individuals are suffering injuries from sports, accidents, and attacks. With a large number of TBIs, treatment can vary – and finding the right one could mean success for the future.

Initial TBI Assessment

Immediately following a traumatic brain injury, the medical staff on the case will need some background information on the incident. They will ask a few questions of anyone who was at the scene. For example, some questions may include:

  • How did the injury occur?
  • Did the injured person lose consciousness?
  • How long did they lose consciousness?
  • Were there any immediate changes in speaking or coordination?
  • What part of the head was struck?

Such questions can help determine the severity of the traumatic brain injury. From there, the doctor may order one of two imaging tests:

  • Computerized Tomography or CT Scan – A test performed in the emergency room for a suspected TBI. The CT Scan utilizes X-rays for a detailed image of the brain.
  • MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging – An MRI uses radio waves and magnets to produce an image of the injured brain. Typically, an MRI is scheduled after the injury has stabilized.

TBI Treatment

The treatment for a traumatic brain injury varies, depending on the level of severity. Generally, traumatic brain injuries are broken down into categories of mild or severe. From there, treatment is scheduled based on the needs of the patient. A few options include emergency care, medication, surgery, rehabilitation, or for mild injuries, simple rest and relaxation.

Medications

There are a few types of medication used to treat a TBI, such as:

  • Diuretics – Drugs designed to reduce the fluid in tissues and increase urine production – they reduce pressure on the brain.
  • Anti-Seizure Medication – Designed for moderate to severe TBI to reduce the risk of seizures within the first week.
  • Coma-Inducing Drugs – For severe TBI that requires a temporary comatose state to limit the amount of oxygen required by the brain.

Surgery

Depending on the situation, emergency surgery may be used to treat a traumatic brain injury. Surgical options include:

  • Removing clots – Bleeding outside or inside the brain often leads to clotted blood (hematoma) that puts immense pressure on the brain.
  • Fractures – To repair a skull fracture, surgery may be required to remove pieces of the skull and repair broken portions.
  • Bleeding – Head injuries often lead to internal bleeding that must be stopped promptly.
  • Pressure – In many cases, creating a “window” to the brain can help relieve some of the pressure on the injury by draining cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to make room for swelling.

If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may find support for this situation through TryMunity. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at (844) 838-2900 – we are here to help.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

There are many forms of traumatic brain injury that lead to life-changing effects.

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Today, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are among the most common form of injury to the brain. Each year, 52,000 lives are claimed due to traumatic brain injuries, while as many as 1.7 million people are affected worldwide. Most often, traumatic brain injuries refer to physical trauma to the head, though not all incidents produce the same amount or type of damage. Many TBIs are minor, in fact, with only short-term symptoms being displayed by the patient. Others, however, lead to massive brain damage that permanently reduces the individual’s ability to function. Either way, a TBI must be diagnosed and treated immediately.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Again, no matter the severity of the injury, a traumatic brain injury should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. There is no use in waiting, as the situation will only worsen. Here are the most common types of traumatic brain injuries:

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

A coup-contrecoup brain injury occurs when the patient endures significant impact directly to the brain. The brain is then slammed into the side of the skull. The resulting damage is both at the impact site and opposite side, due to the brain smashing against the interior of the skull. Such events are typically quite violent, such as serious car accidents, forceful falls, or incidents involving acts of physical violence.

Concussion

A concussion is, hands-down, the most common form of traumatic brain injury. While often considered one of the mildest forms of TBI, concussions do account for hundreds of thousands of trips to the emergency room annually. Most commonly, a concussion is caused by a sudden blow to the head, such as during a car accident, slip and fall, or sports game.

Brain Contusion

A brain contusion often sounds worse than the reality. Typically, a brain contusion is nothing more than a bruise – mild bleeding underneath the skin. Similar to a concussion, a brain contusion can worsen if the bleeding does not stop of its own accord. Then, the situation must be handled surgically.

How TBI Affects Patients

The effects of a mild to severe traumatic brain injury can have quite the long-lasting, and sometimes permanent, effect on your life. Of course, recovery and rehabilitation are both possibilities. However, many people suffering from severe TBI tend to face challenges requiring them to adapt to their new situation altogether – even with treatment.

First and foremost, traumatic brain injuries can lead to permanent physical or mental disabilities. Polytrauma is quite common in mild to severe TBI. Furthermore, skills and abilities once held by the individual may no longer feel as possible, or as sharp as they once were. Even after a full recovery, abilities may be hindered.

Finally, there are ongoing challenges to consider. Any form of brain injury often leads to slower cognitive abilities. It takes longer to remember things or to count. The change is noticeable.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, contact TryMunity. We are the leading support network for individuals and families who have suffered through brain injury. Give us a call at (844) 838-2900.

Could a Childhood TBI Have Long-Lasting Effects?

Doctor showing a sign that has traumatic brain injury written. TryMunity.

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Traumatic brain injury is a heartbreaking occurrence in a person’s life, and they can happen to anyone of any age. In such a short span of time, world’s change. Children are not immune, and unfortunately can be affected in their later life as they continue to develop. Contrary to popular belief that children can heal much easier than adults after a TBI, “…recent research demonstrates that the younger a child at the time of injury, the greater the possibility of long-term developmental challenges,” according to Brainline. A childhood traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects, both physically and cognitively.

Lasting Cognitive Challenges

The quote above was in correlation to the belief that young children who are affected by traumatic brain injury are able to recover much easier than adults with TBI do. But this is not the case, especially depending on how young the child is when they experience their accident. It can actually be much more complicated for children with traumatic brain injuries; their bodies are in constantly changing stages of development and their brains are not able to keep up at the same rate of maturation. For this reason, the true extent of cognitive challenges often will take some time to fully present themselves. The effects are always different from person to person, but the cognitive functions that may be impaired include: memory, ability to problem-solve, personality changes, and communicative abilities. Furthermore, as child TBI victims continue to age, there can be stalling periods in their behavioral and social development that can be a hindrance to establishing relationships and being able to hold employment.

Physical Challenges

There are many potential physical challenges your child may continue to deal with as they age. Physical challenges are largely related to the extent and severity of the accident that caused their traumatic brain injury. Common physical challenges of children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can include: trouble with their balance, motor skills and coordination, paralysis, seizures, and continuous fatigue.

TryMunity Is Waiting for You

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury when you were young and are still experiencing lasting effects from it, TryMunity is waiting for you. This is a website created to offer TBI survivors a safe space to network, share their stories and experiences, update their therapy progress, and more. It is an exclusive space, and we know you will not regret joining the TryMunity family! Visit us today at http://www.trymunity.com/.

How a Traumatic Brain Injury Can Affect Your Memory

Illustration of the human brain being erased. TryMunity

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Without a doubt, a traumatic brain injury affects you in many different ways, including your memory after the accident. The severity of memory loss will vary from person to person, but there are some commonalities that can be found among TBI survivors. Here are some of the ways you can anticipate traumatic brain injury to affect your memory, or the memory of a loved one.

Short-Term Memory Is More Likely to Be Affected

It is pretty normal to expect moderate to severe traumatic brain injury survivors to experience some form of memory issues. But, fortunately, it is much more likely for long-term memory to be left untouched; short-term memory is typically what is most affected. This can prove to be just as frustrating, however, because someone who struggles with short-term memory issues will forget important details, have the tendency to lose things, be unable to recall details of their day or something they just did, etc.. It can be very frustrating for them, so patience is necessary.

Prospective Memory

Your prospective memory includes things that you plan to do in the future. These could be doctor’s appointments, errands or places that you need to go, important occasions, and other similar instances. This can be especially upsetting for new TBI survivors. Though they are still adjusting to life with their condition, they may feel as though they are constantly making mistakes.

Trouble Linking Things Together

Perhaps it is your first time getting together with friends and family after the incident that resulted in your traumatic brain injury. People are coming up and hugging you, asking how you are, and you recognize all of them. But for the life of you, you cannot remember some of their names, even if you have known them for years. This is one of the ways TBI can affect memory. You can struggle to put names to faces or have trouble inserting the right word in conversation, despite having retained excellent vocabulary skills.

Join TryMunity Today

These are only some of the ways that traumatic brain injury can affect your memory moving forward. Everyone’s experience will be different, but one thing that every TBI survivor has in common is their desire to not feel alone in their new way of life. This is precisely why TryMunity was created: to be a community for traumatic brain injury survivors and their families to share their stories with one another. Join TryMunity today at http://www.trymunity.com.

Living With a Traumatic Brain Injury

MRI of an injured brain. TryMunity

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If you or a loved one is a traumatic brain injury survivor (TBI), you are likely still adjusting to this new way of life. The process is gradual, and there is no need to rush through it. These things take time, and it is important to discuss some of the changes you may experience in your home, work, and relationships now that you are living with a TBI. Know that in the midst of all of these adjustments, you are not alone; there are thousands of traumatic brain injury survivors, caretakers and family members who are facing new challenges just like you on the journey of life after TBI. Here is information provided by the Brain Injury Association of America about what to expect on that journey.

Home Modifications

There will be physical and emotional modifications to life at home after you or a member of your family experiences a traumatic brain injury. Whether it is your child who experiences a TBI, your spouse, your parent, your sibling, or your friend, you need to be both patient and willing to step up in many ways. This will be an adjustment for both of parties; depending on the extent of the injury, the traumatic brain injury survivor’s personality will likely be different than before the injury. It is important to take things one day at a time, seek outside help, and take precautions to prevent depression and isolation during the adjustment process. You may also need to install ramps, widen doors, install special showers and the like to accommodate for special equipment or physical limitations..

Work Changes

Once you or your loved one has had some time to settle into the “new normal” of living with a traumatic brain injury, you may want to discuss returning to work. A lot of times, re-establishing a routine is exactly what is needed to restore some normalcy to life. Always consult with a doctor to ensure the patient is physically ready to return to work. Then, the survivor can go to their employer and discuss a gradual or modified return (shorter hours, a different position, or a lighter workload than before).Another option is to utilize the programs of Vocational Rehabilitation or Ticket to Work.

Relationship Changes

Without a doubt, a person that suffers a traumatic brain injury will experience significant impacts to their relationships – this includes family, friends, professional, and romantic. The TBI survivor will likely endure self-doubt and isolation after the incident, and the people in their lives should act as a positive support system. In all relationships, patience will be required during the re-establishment and rebuilding of roles, as well as acceptance of the potential changes for both parties.

Join TryMunity

We cannot emphasize how much support is available to you when it comes to the recovery process of a traumatic brain injury. TryMunity was created to prove just that. This site is a platform for TBI survivors and their families to share their progress, their personal stories, meet peers, and reaffirm the fact that everyone is on their own journey to normal life following a traumatic brain injury. Join TryMunity today at http://www.trymunity.com.

Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Worsen Over Time?

Graphic of the human brain. TryMunity

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The immediate aftermath of a traumatic brain injury can easily be the most challenging and physically taxing time of a person’s life. Afterward, the extensive prescribed treatment and physical therapy for your injury takes time, but ultimately aims to result in gradual improvement. However, there are aspects of TBI that may not improve as a survivor ages, and in fact may worsen, depending on a person’s specific injury severity. It is especially important to always note any changes physically or behaviorally, and visit your doctor regularly.

What Was the Cause of Your Injury?

Depending on a multitude of factors, the nature of the accident that caused your traumatic brain injury will be a determinant of whether or not your sustained injuries can worsen. This is because the initial depth of the accident may cause lasting brain damage, especially if you experienced an open-head injury. Every person’s case is different because everyone’s accident was different; no two people will experience the same amount of force to their head or identical events that will guarantee them to recover in the same way. One person’s condition may worsen and another’s may not for a million possible reasons.

Aging May Be the Most Significant Reason

As a person with a traumatic brain injury ages, the worsening of their condition could be due to the more rapid degeneration of brain cells. As people age, they become more fragile. Fragility is especially a concern for those TBI survivors whose walking abilities were affected after the injury – there is a greater risk of falling and injuring themselves further. New injuries are one of the major reasons that traumatic brain injuries can worsen. Additionally, health events like new medical conditions, a stroke, a seizure, and others are all reasons that TBIs can become exacerbated instead of continuing to get better.

Join TryMunity Today

If you or someone you love has been affected, perhaps permanently, by a traumatic injury, join TryMunity. Created by a family that experienced a TBI first-hand, this online community is an exclusive one for survivors and their loved ones everywhere to be able to connect and learn from one another’s journeys. On the site, members can network, share their unique stories, update those around them on their recovery progress, and more. The reason this incredible nonprofit was created was to give traumatic brain injury victims an outlet all their own and to provide a space where they can find others going through similar challenges, and know that they are not alone. For more information and to join, visit community.trymunity.com.

Could Symptoms Eventually Disappear After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Doctors examining a patient’s x-ray of their head. TryMunity.

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When someone experiences a traumatic brain injury, their world is instantly altered. All of a sudden, they are thrust into a life or death experience that, if survived, leaves behind scarring much deeper than what may be physically seen. There is almost always a longer-term recovery process due to the vitality of the brain’s health, and it may be some time before normalcy for the victim is restored. But is this a permanent state? Could symptoms of traumatic brain injury lessen significantly over time? The good news is that there is hope for many TBI patients to be able to handle their injury as a chronic, manageable condition, based, of course, on the severity.

The Severity of the Injury

Traumatic brain injury is classified into two types based on the incident itself. A person can have either an open-head injury or a closed-head one. Both are high-risk and can permanently alter the condition of the brain. The biggest dangers of an open-head TBI are exposure of the brain to debris and the environment, items lodging themselves inside of the organ, or losing pieces. Closed-head injuries can be just as damaging due to the movement of the brain within the skull upon impact, causing swelling inside and pressure that may need to be relieved. The extremity of the injury is telling as to whether or not the victim may be able to treat it as a chronic injury rather than an entirely debilitating one.

What Your Life Looks Life After the Injury

In either kind of TBI, the goal of making a full or almost full recovery depends on the extent of the accident you experienced and how you handle the kind of challenges you are now faced with afterward. The treatment and therapy your doctor says you need to complete along your recovery journey is crucial to keep up with, as this is a major determinant of a traumatic brain injury survivor’s long-term well-being. With continued treatment and perseverance, there is hope that a TBI victim can regain their life.

Join TryMunity

TryMunity was created to be a social network that provides support and encouragement to victims of traumatic brain injury and their families. Through the site, you can connect with TBI victims everywhere; make friends, share stories, share your recovery progress, and so much more. Join today at community.trymunity.com/.

Traumatic Brain Injury Signs You Should Never Ignore

Stress to someone’s brain. TryMunity, Texas

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is happening much more frequently nowadays, but it can be difficult to know exactly what symptoms to look for. If you are in an accident or injure your head in some way, you have to be very vigilant about noticing anything that feels “off” or just not right afterwards, and make note of these symptoms or incidents. If you are a parent and the accident happened to your child, you need to be continuously monitoring them, and asking them about what they are feeling. This vigilance will help determine whether or not you are dealing with a traumatic brain injury, and also whether you should seek medical attention right away. There are symptoms that you must immediately seek proper care for. Here are some symptoms of traumatic brain injury that you should absolutely never ignore.

Extreme Physical Reactions

As described in this source, if you or another victim in an accident lost consciousness for over 6 hours, it is automatically classified as a traumatic brain injury. Common brain injury symptoms are dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and dilated pupils. If any of these reactions are extreme, that is not a promising sign – you should see someone right away. If you experience seizures and have never had them before, this is another serious indicator of TBI. After a TBI, you may also experience seizures from now on. Pay attention to your sleep patterns – if they are oddly irregular, consult with a professional.

Serious Cognitive or Sensory Reactions

Intense cognitive and sensory abnormalities after an injury are some of the most telling symptoms that someone may have a traumatic brain injury. In terms of cognition, obvious memory loss, confusion, being unable to process information normally, trouble with reading or writing abilities, and additional linguistic issues are major signs of deeper damage to the brain. If you have extreme losses in any of the five senses – sight, taste, touch, hearing, or your sense of smell – TBI may be the reason why.

TryMunity Is There for You

If you or someone close to you has been formally diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, the story does not stop there. In fact, you now have an entire community available around you with that same common life condition. TryMunity was created to be an avenue for TBI survivors and their families to have an outlet to share their stories, connect to others around them, and support one another through their individual journeys of living with a traumatic brain injury. Join the online community of TryMunity today at http://www.trymunity.com/.