Brain or spinal injuries differ in complexity and severity and range in effect from mild to severe. In the United States, there are an estimated 2.87 million Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths each year (CDC), while there are nearly 18,000 new spinal cord injuries each year (National Spinal Cord Injury Association).
Symptoms of TBI can range from brief loss of consciousness, headache and confusion to those symptoms plus persistent headache, repeated vomiting or nausea, and convulsions or seizures. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive disease caused by repeated brain trauma, can lead to memory loss, confusion, personality and behavior changes, and difficulty with attention, organizing thoughts and balance and motor skills. Spinal cord injuries often impair body function, ranging from limited or weak movement to no function below the level of the injury.
Immediate surgery can sometimes repair some of the damage of brain or spine trauma. The primary concerns with most TBI cases include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Many brain and spine trauma patients may benefit from medicine and various types of rehabilitation therapies. There currently are no cures.
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