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What are the signs of a traumatic brain injury?

Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents were the second-leading cause of traumatic brain damage related hospitalizations in the U.S. More than 2.87 million people were hospitalized, died or visited the emergency room as a result of traumatic brain injuries. 

It is important to know how to spot the signs of traumatic brain injury, as immediate medical attention can minimize long-term damage. While there is no way to reverse the damage caused by TBIs, medical professionals can prevent further damage from occurring. 

Identifying the signs and symptoms

The signs of TBIs can be difficult to spot because they can be mistaken for other illnesses. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke lists the following as signs of mild TBI: 

  • Lightheadedness, dizziness and confusion 
  • Change in sleep patterns 
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering  
  • Sensory deficiencies, such as blurred vision, hearing loss  
  • Headache 

With moderate to severe cases of TBI, the symptoms may be similar but with increased intensity. For example, headaches that get worse, repeated nausea and vomiting, trouble swallowing, slurred speech, tingling in the extremities, loss of consciousness or seizures. 

Seeking medical attention

TBIs occur when the soft tissue of the brain collides with the skull bone. This can cause bleeding, bruising and inflammation of the brain. What may seem like a mild injury can quickly become a serious problem. That is why it is critical that you seek medical attention right away. Some brain injury symptoms may take a few days to appear. 

A doctor can assess your injury and customize a treatment plan based on your injury.

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