Sustaining a traumatic brain injury in an accident can have serious consequences. In fact, a long-term study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that TBI triples the risk for a premature death. The study also indicated a higher risk of suicide, dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. These complications associated with TBI depend on various factors, including the severity and circumstances of the injury.
If you or a loved one has a TBI, it is worth considering these potential ramifications. Keep reading for more details about TBI complications and risks.
1. Altered consciousness
Someone with a moderate to severe TBI can have temporary or permanent changes to his or her state of consciousness. Widespread damage can cause someone to enter a coma, a vegetative state or locked-in syndrome. In certain cases, the injured person may experience brain death, which occurs when there is no measurable activity in his or her brain. All of these complications result in decreased awareness and responsiveness.
2. Degenerative brain diseases
A TBI can increase the risk of various degenerative brain diseases, including:
- Dementia: Memory loss, agitation, decreased personal care, trouble speaking and difficulty recognizing people
- Alzheimer’s: Progressive memory loss, language problems, mood swings and less energy
- Parkinson’s: Movement problems including rigidity, tremors and reduced mobility
While there is a greater risk for these diseases, there is no way to determine a certain risk pertaining to a specific individual.
3. Nerve damage
Brain injuries can directly damage cranial nerves, especially when the base of the skull is hit. This may cause paralysis of the facial muscles, double vision, loss of vision, reduced sense of smell, swallowing problems and reduced facial sensations.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from a TBI, you should keep an eye out for these complications due to the increased likelihood they will occur. Make sure you keep track of any medical expenses and pain and suffering.