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Car crashes can cause traumatic brain injury

If you think traumatic brain injury sounds frightening, you are correct. Damage to the brain - the vital control center of your entire body - can result in extensive and not always predictable harm.

Car accidents rank among the more frequent causes of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, as they often create the kind of violent impact most likely to traumatize brain tissue.

TBI not always apparent

One of the factors that can make TBI so dangerous is that many people do not realize they have it right away. Even for severe TBI, symptoms may take hours or days to show up. This means that when you go to the emergency room after the accident, unless you have a clearly visible head wound, health care providers may not even check you for TBI. In the cases of mild or moderate TBI, even imaging studies may not reveal the presence of trauma. Some people may choose not to go to the emergency room, believing they did not sustain serious injuries.

Severe TBI

Symptoms of severe TBI generally include losing consciousness for over 30 minutes and serious memory loss. Other effects may include losing function in arms and legs, speech or thought impairment, and even coma. Some patients never experience recovery while others may need long-term treatment to regain even partial levels of function.

Mild TBI is still a serious matter

Moderate or mild TBI usually announces itself with brief loss of consciousness and shorter-term memory loss. Some people do not even remember passing out. Other symptoms may include headaches, mood swings, difficulty focusing, mild speech or cognitive impairments, nausea, vertigo, and drowsiness. These signs can manifest within days or weeks of the injury. Many people at first fail to take these signs seriously. However, if you know you were in a car accident, you should watch out for any signs of TBI. Seeking medical attention can get you treatment.

Mild TBI is still a brain injury and can continue to affect your life in the long term. Some people find their ability to work and enjoy life substantially impaired.

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