According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury causes about 166 deaths and thousands of injuries every day in the United States. About half of TBI injuries and deaths result from falls, while others result from motor vehicle accidents and violent incidents.
Sometimes, TBI goes untreated because the signs of this condition can be subtle or mirror the symptoms of other health problems. Review the symptoms of TBI so you or a loved one can receive needed medical attention in this situation.
Physical signs of TBI
A person with moderate to severe TBI typically loses consciousness for a few minutes, several hours or longer. However, a mild TBI does not necessarily cause consciousness changes, which may result in failure to obtain medical treatment.
Symptoms of mild TBI include ringing ears and increased sensitivity to light and sound. With moderate to severe TBI, the person may be difficult to awake, display impaired coordination, experience numbness or weakness in the extremities, have nausea or vomiting,
Clear fluids may drain from the nose or ears. The person may have a severe or persistent headache, seizures, or convulsions.
Mood and cognitive signs of TBI
When someone has TBI you may notice confusion, agitation, aggressive behavior, or slurred speech. Mood swings, sleep changes and loss of appetite are common. The person may also be restless or agitated.
Children who have a TBI tend to be irritable, cry uncontrollably, be unable to focus, seem drowsy or depressed, or experience changes in sleeping or eating habits.
Go to the emergency room if you suspect a TBI. Left untreated, brain injuries can cause long-term disability.