It’s often difficult to truly and accurately determine just how many people suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury also known as TBI. It is alarmingly larger than most of us would expect, however. According to the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are roughly 1.5 million patients suffering from TBI-related injuries each year in the United States alone. Furthermore at least 85,000 suffering from long-term abilities annually as a result of it. In the U.S over 5.3 million live with these disabilities. Although those admitted into the hospital are included in these figures, ER visits and clinical visits are not.
So what causes TBI? The reasons can actually vary from case to case but the top three are due to auto accidents, gunshots, and falls. In the case of firearms, 9/10 of all patients will die as a result of the fatal injury. Senior citizens and young adults have so far proven to be the highest risk age, group. Spinal cord injuries are also included in these risk factors along with injuries to the brain and can also result from outside car accidents, gunshots falls. There is no known cure for TBI so it goes without saying that prevention is the best bet.
The following are the main contributing causes to those who have suffered from TBI, and in many cases as you’ll see many could have been prevented. They are follows
- Open Head Injuries – These head injuries can result from bullet wounds, punctures, a number of other causes. Most of the damage is focal damage and usually involves penetration of the skull. It has often by documented the resulting effects are often equally grievous to those seen in closed brain injuries.
- Closed Head Injuries – Closed ahead injuries are usually connected to slip and fall accidents, car crashes, and so on. Focal damage is seen here as well a great deal of diffuse damage to the axons. The effects, therefore, tend to be very broad because of this.
- Deceleration Injuries (Diffuse Axonal Injury) – To understand these types of injuries you must understand the environment of your brain. While your brain is very soft and not much more solid than gelatin the skull that contains is hard as a rock and unyielding. So first you have acceleration, which is skull moving through the air to a certain point then deceleration, which takes place when your skull makes impact usually with a hard object. Unfortunately, the brain and skull don’t move evenly because of their difference in density, so the brain is basically moving inside the skull. This kind of differing movement, therefore, can cause serious injuries resulting from contusions, brain swelling, and axonal shearing.
Diffuse axonal shearing: Diffuse Axonal shearing takes placed when the brain slams too and fro within the skull, back and forth. The brain, due to its soft gelatin-like texture is furthermore stretched and compressed. With a strong enough impact, the axons will be torn as a result of being forced to stretch too far. A severe brain injury will cause axonal shearing as well killing the neurons.
- Chemical / Toxic Causes – Chemical and/or toxic causes can also be known as metabolic disorders. This kind of injury can result from dangerous chemical damaging the brains neurons. Some of this chemical can include bug sprays and insecticides, solvents, carbon monoxide and lead poisoning, and the list goes on.
- Suffocation or Hypoxia (Lack of Oxygen) – It’s commonly known that suffocation in many cases can cause severe brain damages. These injuries can result from either a lack of sufficient oxygen (hypoxia) or no oxygen at all (anoxia) The brain can only go a few minutes at most without oxygen before this damage begins to occur. Because this has to do with the oxygen levels in our blood this can be caused by lowered blood pressure, heart attacks, or respiratory failure as well being simply being somewhere where there’s not enough oxygen. This kind of damage usually causes major gaps in memory and very poor cognitive function.
- Tumors – Cancerous tumors often grow over the brain causing injury overcrowding and crushing it. This is also caused by the resulting pressure of enlarged tumors. Fortunately, there are surgical procedures to remove these tumors, which can help prevent said damage from taking place.
- Infections – The brain and its protective membranes are quite susceptible to infection. This happens mostly when the protective system between the brain and the blood it needs has been breached. Bacteria and viruses can often wreak havoc on the brain causing deadly diseases in the brain like encephalitis and meningitis.
- Stroke – Strokes occur when the brain doesn’t receive enough blood usually because the flow is cut off and the cells in the area die as a result. Brain damage can also be caused when there is internal bleeding either on or in the brain. Injury by this blood can also result in long-term general brain damage.