Brain injuries can create a vast number of difficulties for an individual. While some brain injuries result in minor, temporary side effects, many traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result in permanent, life-altering side effects.
Long-Term Effects of a TBI
The side effects a person experiences depend entirely on the individual as well as the circumstances of their brain injury. Some of the more common long-term side effects of a TBI include:
Physically: Paralysis, sleep disorders, appetite changes, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, chronic pain, loss of bladder function, seizures, and hormonal changes.
Cognitive: Difficulties with attention, focus, concentration, memory, speed of mental processing, and executive functions (i.e., planning, abstract thinking, determining right from wrong, etc.).
Sensational: Difficulties recognizing and distinguishing between touch and pressure sensations, difficulty perceiving temperature, difficulty with movement, difficulty processing information obtained through the five senses, partial or total loss of vision, difficulty judging distance, light and sound sensitivity, partial or total hearing loss, tinnitus, and partial or total loss of smell and taste.
Communication: Slurred speech, difficulty with reading comprehension, and aphasia (inability to express ideas as well as problems with understanding everyday language, reading, and writing).
Emotionally: Depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, irritability, and a lack of motivation.
Socially: Lower rates of employment and the inability to engage in recreational activities.
What Causes the Long-Term Effects of a TBI?
Neurovascular coupling, the body’s communication system between brain cells (neurons) and blood vessels, is responsible for determining whether someone will suffer from long-term or short-term side effects after a TBI.
For the brain to operate, it needs glucose and oxygen. Glucose and oxygen are carried through the blood vessels. When the body wishes to perform an action, the brain will anticipate the need for additional glucose and oxygen in a specific part of the brain. Neurons (brain cells) act as communicators throughout the body, telling the glucose and oxygen where to go in the brain. However, when a brain injury occurs, inflammation and swelling can obstruct the established neurovascular coupling pathways. The body will continue trying to deliver the requested glucose and oxygen to the necessary part of the brain but will opt for another path. This can result in delayed responses or inefficient functions.
As a person recovers from their brain injury, these neurovascular coupling pathways may mend themselves. However, in the case of severe traumatic brain injuries, these pathways may remain unusable, leaving the individual with permanent side effects.
Dealing with the side effects of a brain injury can be difficult. If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury at the hands of another, call Rob Levine & Associates today. Our team of personal injury attorneys will get you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on healing.