If you or somebody you love has sustained a brain injury, you need to seek immediate medical care. Only a medical professional can properly diagnose a brain injury, and it is crucial that you seek treatment for these injuries as soon as possible to prevent any long-term brain damage. Here, we want to discuss the signs and symptoms of a brain injury that you need to be aware of. We will cover the most immediate symptoms that may appear after a suspected brain injury as well as the longer-term symptoms brain injury victims can expect.
Data presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that around 1.5 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries every year across the US. Out of these injuries, around 85,000 people sustain long-term disabilities. Unfortunately, 50,000 individuals pass away each year as a result of a brain injury incident.
Short-Term Brain Injury Symptoms
It is crucial to understand the most immediate signs that a brain injury has occurred. First and foremost, any person who sustains a sharp bump or blow to the head or body needs to seek medical care quickly. It is crucial to point out that the signs and symptoms of a brain injury may not be immediately apparent after the incident occurs. In some cases, individuals appear completely fine, only to later begin experiencing the symptoms of brain injury. Delayed treatment could lead to irreversible brain damage.
Some of the most immediate signs and symptoms of a brain injury can include the following:
- Any open head wound
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Unequal pupils or people response
- Clear fluid draining from the ears or nose
In the hours after a brain injury occurs, there may be other signs and symptoms that can indicate the need to seek immediate medical care. This includes:
- Any new disorientation or confusion
- Worsening headaches
- Trouble waking up
- Unusual behavior including combativeness or agitation
- New pupil dilation
- Loss of consciousness
Long-Term Brain Injury Symptoms
Often, brain injuries do not lead to permanent damage or long-term symptoms. However, if a brain injury is severe enough, or if a relatively minor brain injury goes untreated, there could be various long-term complications an individual experiences. No two brain injuries are exactly alike, but some of the most common long-term symptoms an individual may sustain include the following:
- Physical disabilities. Brain injury victims can suffer from a range of physical issues, including complete or partial paralysis, problems swallowing, hearing or vision loss, altered sense of smell or taste, and a range of other debilitating symptoms.
- Cognitive problems. Individuals who sustain a brain injury could experience a range of cognitive issues, including problems with their memory, learning, judgment, concentration, and reasoning. Brain injury victims may have problems multitasking, organizing, and making decisions.
- Behavioral changes. Brain injury victims may experience behavioral problems such as difficulty with self-control, engaging in risky behaviors, difficulties in social settings, or even verbal or physical outbursts. Brain injury victims can suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, and mood swings.
- Communication problems. Traumatic brain injury victims may have problems communicating with others. This could include difficulty understanding writing and speech, problems speaking or writing, the inability to organize thoughts, and trouble following or participating in conversations.