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Revisiting Traumatic Brain Injury and the Risk of Dementia

Millions of people are affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of injury occurs when the head is impacted by an outside force that causes the brain to move inside of the skull, causing negative effects on the brain’s ability to function properly.

According to the CDC, although the age-adjusted hospitalization rates for TBI per 100,000 population decreased overall between 2006 and 2014, there was an increase in this rate due to falls – 33.9 in 2006 to 42.9 in 2014.

Traumatic Brain Injury Can Increase Risk of Dementia

Two top causes of TBI are motor vehicle accidents and falls. In addition, most of the individuals affected by TBI are 65 years of age or older. As a result of the increased rates of TBI related to falls and motor vehicle accidents, many people are living with neurological impairments or disabilities related to these injuries. One of these impairments is dementia.

Dementia defined

An individual with dementia suffers from a neurological disorder that affects his or her everyday ability to function. The disorder involves a progressive reduction in cognitive function that can result in changes in behavior, memory impairments, and an inability to plan. The symptoms of dementia can coincide significantly with the symptoms of TBI. Therefore, recognizing each set of symptoms is important.

Diagnosing TBI

Medical clinicians utilize neurological exams and imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) to diagnose traumatic brain injury. Even without imaging techniques, doctors can diagnose TBI in its milder forms when an individual reports symptoms such as dizziness, headache, altered sleep patterns, or fatigue. Symptoms of more severe TBI include vomiting or nausea, loss of coordination, seizures, confusion, and slurred speech.

Detecting symptoms of dementia

Similar to TBI, dementia symptoms can extend from mild to severe. One of the most common early symptoms of dementia is difficulty remembering recent events. Additional mild symptoms of the condition include personality or mood changes, misplacing items, and becoming lost in familiar areas. Those with more severe cases of dementia are more likely to experience changes in mood or personality, difficulty speaking, and difficulty recognizing family members and loved ones.

Importance of TBI treatment to reduce the risk of dementia

Dementia can have devastating effects upon the individual and his or her family members. Therefore, those who sustain TBI are advised to follow prescribed treatment regimens from their doctors very closely in order to minimize the risk of incurring injury related neurological conditions such as dementia. A number of mild TBI symptoms can be alleviated through proper rest and certain over-the-counter medications. Proper follow-up visits with a medical provider are recommended to monitor the progress of recovery and/or evaluate any persistent or new symptoms.

Patients with more severe cases of TBI are often provided cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) after being discharged from the hospital. This consists of an individualized training program that serves to help patients protect or recover brain function.

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The compassionate Nashville traumatic brain injury attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are experienced at representing clients who have suffered TBI due to another party’s negligence. We are here to fight for your right to compensation if you have sustained this devastating injury. To arrange a free consultation at one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Knoxville, call us today at 615.425.2500 or fill out our contact form.

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