The brain is one of the essential organs in the body. It coordinates and controls your actions allowing you to feel, think, create memories, and do other things that make you human. Even though the human brain only weighs about three pounds, its benefits cannot be overstated. Here are a few common injuries and diseases that may affect the brain.
1. Degenerative Brain Diseases
It isn’t clear how brain injuries are related to degenerative brain diseases. However, research suggests that severe traumatic brain injuries or repeated brain injuries are likely to cause degenerative brain diseases. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict this risk. If you have a degenerative brain disorder, it can trigger the loss of functions and cause:
- Parkinson’s disease. It is a condition that progressively causes impaired movements. Its symptoms may include slow movements and rigidity
- Alzheimer’s disease. It causes the progressive loss of memory and general thinking skills
- Dementia pugilistica. The condition is usually linked to repetitive blows on the head. It affects boxers and may trigger dementia and movement issues.
There are a few ways to prevent degenerative brain injuries. They include:
- Always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, snowmobile, or bicycle
- Wear a seat belt whenever you are in motor vehicles
- Avoid driving when intoxicated or under medication
- Put in measures to prevent falls at home and at the office
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. You may get it following a jolt or blow to the head. You may also get a concussion following a blow to the body that makes your head move rapidly. If you have just been in a road accident, it is wise that you get checked for a concussion. The signs of car accident concussion include blurry vision, headache, fatigue, and nausea. In severe cases, you may experience confusion, amnesia, and dizziness. The symptoms may not be apparent right after the accident. They may manifest after a few days or weeks.
Even though medical practitioners may refer to concussions as mild brain injuries, they are, in fact, very serious. If you don’t seek medical help fast, your concussion can be life-threatening. Its symptoms can be debilitating.
Post-concussion syndrome is characterized by the persistence of headaches, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, irritability, and changes in sleep patterns beyond the typical recovery period for a concussion. According to CFX, doctors often miss post-concussion syndrome during diagnosis, and treatment methods vary from one clinic to another.
A concussion doctor assesses post-concussion syndrome through a comprehensive approach. This includes taking a detailed clinical history, evaluating a range of symptoms, conducting a neurological examination, considering imaging and diagnostic tests, comparing current status to baseline assessments, collecting patient self-reports, assessing daily functional abilities, and exploring psychological aspects. Collaboration with specialists and longitudinal monitoring are key components of the assessment process.
3. Altered Consciousness
If you have a severe or moderate traumatic brain injury for a while, it could trigger permanent or extended changes in your consciousness. It may alter your awareness and ability to respond. The most common states of altered consciousness are vegetative state, coma, and brain death.
When you are in a vegetative state, there is increased damage to your brain. Even though you may make sounds and keep your eyes open, you remain aware of your surroundings.
When in a coma, you are generally unconscious. You cannot respond to anything, and you are completely unaware of everything. After being in a coma for a while, you may slip into a vegetative state.
You are said to be brain dead when there isn’t any measurable activity in your brainstem or brain. Unfortunately, it is irreversible.
In many jurisdictions, determining brain death is a carefully regulated and standardized process involving specific criteria and multiple medical assessments. These criteria typically include the absence of reflexes and responses originating from the brain and confirmation of irreversible damage to the brain.
4. Intellectual Issues
Many people have trouble with their judgment, memory, learning, and cognitive skills. Intellectual issues are very common after brain injury. They impair your judgment and make it difficult to focus. Brain injuries may affect your ability to multitask, plan, make decisions, begin, or complete tasks. They may cause problems in communication and comprehension.
Neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, educational psychologists, developmental pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists may be involved in evaluating cognitive functions, learning abilities, and related aspects.
The choice of professional depends on the specific context and age of the individual experiencing intellectual challenges. If concerned, consulting a primary care physician is a good starting point for guidance on the appropriate specialist for further assessment and diagnosis.
No matter how much you try to protect your brain, it isn’t always possible to avoid injuries. Accidents can happen when you least expect it. Sometimes the symptoms are evident right from the beginning, and at other times, they take a while to manifest. Your recovery process depends on the severity and type of your injuries.