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Any Hit to the Head Needs to Be Checked by a Doctor: Preventing Tbi

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A traumatic brain injury, TBI, is caused by a, “bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). In the U.S. each year millions of experience brain injuries states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs “not all head injuries to the head result in a TBI” (2015). The severity of a traumatic brain injury, mild, moderate, or severe is based off of three things; “length of loss of consciousness, level of memory loss or disorientation, and how responsive the individual is after the injury.” (US Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015). TBI can cause a wide range of changes affecting a persons thinking, awareness, language, and emotions, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2016).

Anyone is at risk for a traumatic brain injury but, “children aged 0 to 4 years, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). More than half of all traumatic brain injuries reported were children under the age of fourteen that have fallen. Motor vehicle accidents make up 14% of all TBI’s, and a large portion of incidents are from unknown causes. Military personnel are also at risk in combat zones. In 2010, 2.5 million Americans received medical attention linked with a TBI injury. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Out of those 2.5 million, “75% are concussions or mild TBI’s” (MedLinePlus, 2016).

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Traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed by a healthcare professional using a neurological exam, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography (CT) scans, according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2016). During this exam the doctor will asked some questions, a few involving the movement of the individuals arms and legs. This test can help the doctor determine how severe the brain injury is. (MedLinePlus, 2016). “The best treatment for a TBI is prevention” (MedLinePlus, 2016). Once a person is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, they will receive treatment based off the severity of their condition. A person may receive medication temporarily, learning strategies to deal with health, cognitive, and behavioral problems; rehabilitation therapies, and assistive devices. (US Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015)

Depending on the severity of a person’s TBI will determine their side effects and symptoms after the accident. “Some of the side effects may not develop until a few days after the accident.” A concussion or mild TBI typically “includes a headache or neck pain, nausea, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and tiredness” (MedLinePlus 11 October 2016). A moderate or severe traumatic brain injury would include, “repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, inability to awaken from sleep, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the arms and legs, and dilated eye pupils” (US Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015). A person who has experience a TBI may develop a disability that includes problems with “cognition, sensory processing, communication, and behavior or mental health” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (8 September 2016).

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2015), “TBI’s can be either open or closed head injuries.” An open head injury is when an object penetrates the brain and causes damage. A closed head injury is when the brain and skull are not penetrated but there is damage to the brain. Two types of damage to the brain can occur after a closed or open head injury; primary brain damage, and secondary brain damage. Primary brain damage is “damage that occurs at the time of impact” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2015), such as blood clots, and bleeding. Secondary brain damage is damage that evolves over time after the trauma, such as increased blood pressure within the skull, seizures, brain swelling.” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2015)

Throughout my research I learned what a TBI actually was, I had a basic understanding of it, and my research furthered my knowledge. I learned a lot about the specifics of types of traumatic brain injuries and the symptoms of each severity level.

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