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Brain injuries can increase risk for other health conditions

Posted in Personal Injury on Saturday, February 21, 2015

Head trauma often leads to damage to the brain that affects cognitive functions, and this type of injury can happen to anyone in Illinois. Accidents such as falls, blows to the head and car crashes are the most common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. TBIs lead to approximately 30 percent of all injury-related fatalities each year.

Initially, a head trauma may not appear to cause a brain injury. In fact, TBI does not always affect consciousness. However, issues regarding cognitive function, seizures and other serious health problems can surface days or even weeks after the injury occurs. An injury lawyer in Chicago may be aware of recent research that links TBI to a number of serious long-term or permanent medical complications that include stroke and dementia.

Stroke

Recent studies have found correlations between brain injury and stroke. Any damage to the head typically also results in injury to the vascular system, which an injury lawyer in Chicago often knows. This affects the blood supplied to the cells of the brain. The immune system is usually able to repair smaller blood vessels, but if a major artery leading to the brain bleeds or develops a clot, it can cause a stroke.

Symptoms of a stroke often include sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body. Confusion, vision problems and headaches may also accompany a stroke. According to research conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School, the risk of stroke is 10 times higher during the first three months following a head injury.

Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, researchers have recently discovered an association between traumatic brain injury and the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease much later. This neurodegenerative disease is typified by dementia, memory problems and the gradual loss of cognitive function.

The Alzheimer’s Association cites research indicating that dementia risks increase many years after a brain injury. When individuals had histories of repeated mild brain traumas such as those often associated with football or soccer, they experienced a higher risk of dementia. The dementia risk for a senior with a history of moderate head injuries increases 2.3 times. A severe TBI raises the risk by 4.5 times. Symptoms often begin to occur after age 55.

Any time the negligent or willful act of another leads to a head trauma, the victim should seek medical attention right away. Even if there are no immediate signs of injury, there could be long-term health repercussions that lead to high medical costs, lost quality of life and considerable pain and suffering. An injury lawyer in Chicago may be able to provide legal advice on the best way to seek compensation for damages.

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