March 17, 2017
Did you know that 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year? Although brain injuries are pervasive in our world, it’s not discussed nearly as much as it should be. Because brain injuries can be difficult to talk about, the issue sometimes get swept under the rug.
Brain Injury Awareness Month was created to combat this lack of knowledge. Each March, we work to make the public at large aware of the issue surrounding brain injuries and the lives of those who live with them. In the spirit of awareness, here are Epic’s top topics you should know about brain injuries:
What is a brain injury?
There are four general types of brain injury: closed head, penetrating, anoxic, and toxic. Each of these types come with their own sets of challenges and symptoms. However, all brain injuries, of course, involve something harming the brain.
Closed head injuries occur when brain tissue is impacting the skull from the inside. Penetrating brain injuries occur when a foreign object punctures the skull and causes brain damage. Anoxic brain injuries are defined by the lack of oxygen, which causes brain cells to die. Finally, toxic brain injuries are caused by any poison that breaks the blood-brain barrier.
How severe are brain injuries?
The name is a bit misleading; brain injuries are more than simply an injury that occurs in the brain. Because the brain is so complex, there is a wide range of complexity and severity for brain injuries. For example, a concussion is a brain injury, and so is a gunshot wound to the head. Of course, these are widely different in severity, but they are still categorized as brain injuries.
The most severe brain injuries are often referred to as traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. These injuries may take weeks or even years to recover from. Some patients may never fully recover from a TBI.
There is help
The theme for this year’s Brain Injury Awareness Month is “Not Alone.” Survivors of brain injury are absolutely not alone. 5.3 million people live with brain injuries. Your Epic Health Services team can provide you with the resources you need for your unique situation.
How to treat people with TBI
First and foremost, TBI survivors are people. They want the same things as anyone else: a safe home, a fulfilling life, and people to love. Although those things may looks different than they would for someone who does not have a brain injury, the core principles remain.
When you meet someone with a TBI, make sure to ask them about things other than the injury. They are people with real desires, thoughts and opinions. If you look past the injury, you are likely to find a friend.
As the science surrounding the brain evolves, so will the treatments for and facts about brain injuries. Make sure to keep up with Epic for the latest information.