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What you should know about traumatic brain injuries

When a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, it can have devastating, lifelong consequences. This kind of injury can affect every part of a person's life, including career, relationships and just normal day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted. It is the kind of injury that affects not just the injured person but everyone around him or her.

If you or someone you care about has experienced a traumatic brain injury, you know all too well how it can change multiple lives. If the injury happened recently, you may be struggling to understand where to go from here. For those in California who have any kind of concern about this kind of injury, it may be helpful to understand what different types of head and brain injuries exist and how to recognize them early.

Head injuries and brain injuries

First, there are two different types of head injuries. An open head injury results from a skull fracture, generally when the head directly strikes a hard object or surface. A closed head injury means the skull didn't fracture but that the brain may still experience swelling or a blood clot.

There are several types of brain injuries, including bruising, tearing and swelling. Bruising frequently happens in instances where the head hits against something. The brain may move in the skull and bruise. With tearing, the brain cracks, in a sense, causing damage to the nervous system. Swelling is often a byproduct of the other two types of injuries as the body tries to heal. Since the brain doesn't have much room to swell the way other parts of the body might, the result is intra-cranial pressure, which is very serious.

How to spot a brain injury

It can be difficult to figure out if someone has a brain injury since it happens inside the body. Fortunately, there are several ways to tell. The person may seem confused and unable to recall things that recently happened. He or she may seem sleepy or sluggish and may report a very painful headache. He or she could also complain about nausea or dizziness. If the person says he or she has weakness or numbness on only one side of his or her body, that may also be an indication.

If in doubt, the best thing to do is ensure the person receives medical attention from a professional. Traumatic brain injuries can affect a person for the rest of his or her life. The potential increased costs in medical care mean that time is of the essence when evaluating this type of injury.

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