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The facts on traumatic brain injury

Negligent behavior can easily result in serious injuries for hapless victims. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is just one example of the type of physical harm that can occur because of car accidents and other incidents. While effects vary from person to person, in some cases TBI has lifelong consequences. The following information illustrates how serious this condition can be and what types of treatments are available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a ten-year period rates of TBI have actually increased. For instance, in 2001 approximately 521 out of 100, 000 fatalities, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits were related to TBI. Ten years later 615.7 out of 100,000 the same occurrences were attributed to TBIs. TBI fatalities in particular comprise 17.1 out of 100,000 ER visits, which is a slight decrease over 2001 rates.

The Mayo Clinic offers more information on the type of effects that can occur with TBI. With moderate TBI patients often experience headaches, dizziness, sleep problems, nausea, and fatigue. More serious TBI is associated with loss of consciousness, convulsion, loss of coordination, confusion, slurred speech, and even coma. Comas can lead to other altered states of consciousness, including a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state. These states can be permanent or temporary.

In terms of treatment, the first step to determine the best course of action is to perform the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assesses how severe a brain injury actually is. With mild injuries rest and over-the-counter pain medication is the preferred method of treatment, although monitoring is recommended. Moderate and severe injuries should be treated with immediate emergency care, which will prevent further effects from occurring. Drugs may also be used, such as anti-seizure medications or diuretics (which remove fluid build up in the brain). In serious cases, surgery is often required.