Understanding the Difference Between a Mild and Severe Brain Injury
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 1.7 million people suffer from some form of a brain injury each year. Around 275,000 of those people end up in the hospital and more than 52,000 brain injuries lead to death each year.
Any type of brain injury has the potential to be serious, but the medical profession separates them into several categories: Mild, moderate, and severe. Which category they fit into depends on where the injury happened, and how serious the damage is. Keep reading to learn the difference. If you have been injured and suffered a brain injury, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 877-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
The Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A brain injury is either open or closed. If there is something that penetrates the skull, such as a piece of glass, then it is an open injury. If the skull remains intact then it is a closed injury, such as hitting your head on the steering wheel. A closed injury can also be caused when the head is quickly jerked forward and back. Mild TBI injuries are always allows closed. Some of the leading causes of brain injuries including car accidents, assault, and motorcycle accidents.
Severe TBIs Always Involve Loss of Consciousness
When a person has a mild TBI, they may or may not lose consciousness. If they do, it will be just for a few seconds or, at most, a few minutes. There may be brief amnesia but it will clear up within the hour. On the other hand, severe TBIs always involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, it will not be classified as a severe TBI unless the victim loses consciousness for at least 24 hours.
Symptoms of Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Other symptoms of mild TBIs include confusion, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headache, nausea, issues with balance, depression, and temporary amnesia. A person with a severe TBI may suffer from issues processing information, decreased function of their executive functions, physical issues like blurred vision and difficulty speaking, and mood changes such as increased impulsiveness.
The Diagnosis of Different Types of Brain Injury
If a doctor suspects that a patient has a mild TBI, they will diagnosis them based on their symptoms of headache and nausea, or will ask their patient to perform coordination and reflex tests. There is no structural damage to the brain with a mild TB so doctors do not request MRI or CT scans – damage will not appear on them if it is a mild injury.
However, severe TBIs do cause structural damage to the brain, which means that doctors can see it on a CT or MRI. They can generally tell if a person is suffering from this type of injury by their symptoms alone, but the imaging tests can show the extent of the damage.