Brain injuries don’t come by themselves. In almost all cases, they appear as a consequence of a fall. Therefore, this type of brain injury has no age prejudice. It is the same for people of all ages. Of course, the elderly are in more danger of suffering brain injuries as, per statistics, every third senior will have a fall at least once a year. For them, brain injuries can be very traumatic and even fatal.
Even if a person never falls during their lifetime, it is enough for them to suffer a couple of small hits to the head, which accumulated through the years can have an impact on the overall well-being of a person. Even the smallest brain injury is dangerous. Every brain injury affects our brain, regardless of its severity. Later in life, they can be damaging to the extent where the life of seniors is put into danger. Because of all this, it is crucial that you learn what brain injuries are, what they look like, and what you should pay the most attention to.
Types of Brain Injury
There are three types of brain injuries: mild, moderate, and severe. All of them are classified as traumatic. The final judgment of what kind of brain injury you have is made by a physician. They take into account factors, such as was the person unconscious, how long the person was unconscious, and how intense their symptoms were. In the majority of cases, brain injuries are mild and don’t pose a life threat. But even the smallest of brain injuries can cause issues for an individual for many years. With old age, a mild brain injury can have an adverse effect on the risk of developing dementia.
The most common symptoms that follow brain injuries are difficulty speaking, learning, and remembering new things. Some patients experience issues with vision, hearing, coordination, and may be unable to recognize the injury. While there are people who don’t have to spend time in a hospital after a concussion, the chances are that they will feel its consequences for a time.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Recently, the condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or simply CTE, was discovered. CTE appears when a person is subjected to repeated traumatic brain injuries. The people who are at the most risk of developing this condition are war veterans and athletes. At first, it was called punch-drunk syndrome, because boxers were those who had it the most. In recent times, the emphasis is on players from the National Football League who have repeated traumatic injuries from helmet-to-helmet contact. CTE can be found in anyone who has suffered repeated head injuries, and it’s not only sport-related.
The symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy are similar to those of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. CTE is a progressive condition, and with time it will change a person’s behavior, in most cases leading to aggression and depression. Some of the early symptoms include confusion, erratic behavior, memory loss, difficulty with balance, and problems organizing thoughts.
Diagnosis and Treatment for CTE
The bad news is that there is no test for CTE. It can only be discovered that a person had it after their death. Furthermore, there is no available treatment. The only thing that you can do is prevention, which means that you should avoid brain injuries. At the moment, CTE is not fully understood, so it is not possible to diagnose it or to follow symptoms, until it’s too late. The only way to discover CTE is to rule out other possibilities through tests that are available for other conditions. The only possible treatments are those that are currently available for patients with dementia.
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