Brain injuries are among some of the most complicated and least understood ailments that the human body can endure. The condition is often the result of a serious car accident or similarly devastating event where an individual receives a blow to the head. Its effects can take many individuals years to overcome while others regain little of their regular function after a lifetime of effort. Scientists and doctors are finally learning how to treat patients with brain injuries, as well as understand the connection that the condition has with other serious health problems.
Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that affects the way the individuals cells in the brain work. The Alzheimer’s Association states that it can result in memory loss, slowed thinking, and confusion. As it worsens over time, individuals may experience disorientation, behavioral changes, confusion about time and events, suspicion of family and friends and difficulty speaking.
Alzheimer’s disease is often seen in many patients who have dealt with a traumatic brain injury at one point in their life, whether from a slip-and-fall or other accident. One study found that older adults who had previously had a moderate TBI were 2.3 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than seniors who had no previous history of brain trauma. That risk rises to 4.5 times the regular risk for those with a severe TBI.
A common diagnosis for many elderly patients is dementia, which is considered a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. However, dementia is often seen in patients without Alzheimer’s disease and is considered to be more of a symptom than a disease in and of itself. When patients are diagnosed with dementia, they have a problem with thinking and memory that is severe enough to inhibit their normal daily life.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia has been linked to moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries through over three decades of research. A recent study published in the journal Neurology found that older veterans with a TBI were 60 percent more likely to develop dementia within 9 years of their initial injury.
When a patient has an area in their brain that is not receiving a sufficient blood supply, they are suffering from a stroke. Two types of strokes exist: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot reduces or eliminates the flow of blood to a section of the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel wall tears, allowing blood to leak into the brain. According to the American Heart Association, those who suffer a TBI are 10 times more likely to have a stroke within three months of their injuring event. Damaged blood vessels may tear under pressure, or unresolved clots may block healing blood vessels, triggering an episode.
Those who suffer from a TBI should discuss any future medical problems that they may experience as a result of their injury with a Chicago personal injury attorney.