This month is TBI awareness month. Traumatic Brain Injuries can sometimes be the hardest thing to diagnose and can also be the most catastrophic. Each year nearly 1.7 million people suffer some form of a TBI.
Head injuries are not like injuries to other parts of the body. A blow to the head can cause damage that can affect all aspects of the mind – from the five senses to the ability to reason, from sleep patterns to personality. The changes can be profound, or, can be quite subtle. Sometimes the effects are not recognized for many months or even years.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused when the head suffers a sudden trauma. TBI can be caused by a car accident, fall, bullet, sports injury, or explosive shock. The extent of damage can range from mile to severe, depending on the specifics of the injury. A victim of TBI may or may not lose consciousness, but will experience some of the following symptoms: Headache, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, fatigue, mood changes, trouble with memory, trouble sleeping, inability to concentrate, or struggles with thinking and paying attention.
Severe cases include symptoms such as headache that gets progressively worse, repeated vomiting and nausea, convulsions, seizures, dilation of the pupils, slurred speech, loss of coordination, confusion, agitation, restlessness, numbness of the extremities, loss of consciousness, and inability to awaken from sleep. Less severe cases can include mood changes, some memory loss or forgetfulness. Medical attention should always be sought immediately any time a head injury occurs, even if you initially “feel OK” after a blow to the head. TBI can lead to a permanent brain and nerve damage.
Below are national TBI estimates across the nation to show just how dangerous Traumatic Brain Injuries really can be.
National TBI Estimates
Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually.
TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
TBI by Age
- 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.
- Almost half a million (473,947) emergency department visits for TBI are made annually by children aged 0 to 14 years.
- Adults aged 75 years and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.
TBI by Gender
- In every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than for females.
- Males aged 0 to 4 years have the highest rates of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.
TBI Estimates by State
CDC currently funds 30 states to conduct basic TBI surveillance through the CORE state Injury Program.
To find TBI-related death and hospitalization data by participating CORE states, see State Injury Indicators Web-based Query System. (Note: Not all states participate in the submission of TBI- and other injury-related data compiled in this report.)
Costs of TBI
Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity of TBI totaled an estimated $76.5 billion in the United States in 2000.
With these kind of statistics, Traumatic Brain Injuries should never be taken lightly. Even if you feel fine after a car accident or suffer a blow to the head while playing a sport, it's always very important to get it checked out. Be safe everyone.