The moment your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury was the moment he or she became a different person. Perhaps it was obvious that the injury altered your lives forever, or the differences may have been subtler. Even minor injuries can cause changes in a person's ability to process thought, control emotions, remember things or communicate. Your loved one may require physical or occupational therapy or even around-the-clock care.
However, even if your loved one's prognosis for recovery is good, there may be health consequences that won't appear until years from now. A recent study suggests a strong link between brain injury and dementia.
Moderate-to-severe brain trauma
The study shows that, despite the progress a person makes after a traumatic brain injury, the damage is likely permanent, and the risk of future symptoms emerging is high. About 1.7 million people suffer from brain trauma each year. Accidental falls are the cause of most brain injuries, with car accidents and bullet wounds following closely behind. Of those that receive moderate-to-severe injuries, about one third die. Half of the survivors live the rest of their lives with permanent disabilities.
Moderate-to-severe brain trauma includes the following factors that minor head injuries do not:
- Blood clots
Additionally, your loved one may have spent three or more days in a Rhode Island hospital following the accident that caused his or her brain injury.
A potentially bleak prognosis
If your loved one's moderate-to-severe brain injury occurred between the ages of 41 and 50, studies show that he or she has three times the likelihood of developing dementia before age 65. An accident occurring in one's 50s doubles the chances. Researchers believe a serious blow to the head may change the brain's chemistry as well as deplete the brain's resilience to damage that may help protect it from neurological degeneration.
Because of this possibility, you and your loved one may face a lifetime of struggle as a result of the accident that caused the injury. You may feel overwhelmed with the thought of the medical expenses ahead of you, not to mention the costs already incurred. Seeking advice about alternatives for pursuing compensation may allow you to prepare confidently for the future.