04. Brain Traumas
TBI or Concussion
A concussion is a blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Also called a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion can result from a car crash, a sports injury, or from a seemingly innocuous fall. Concussion recovery times can vary greatly. Most people who sustain a concussion or mild TBI are back to normal by three months or sooner. But others have long-term problems remembering things and concentration. Accidents can be so minor that neither doctor nor patient makes the connection.
In 2014, there were 56,800 TBI-related deaths in the US, including 2,529 deaths among children.
Intentional self-harm, unintentional falls, and motor vehicle crashes were the most common mechanisms of injury contributing to a TBI-related death. These three principal mechanisms of injury accounted for 32.5%, 28.1%, 18.7%, of all TBI-related deaths.
Rates of TBI-related deaths per 100,000 population were highest among older adults aged ≥75 years (78.5), those aged 65-74 years (24.7), and individuals 55-64 years (19.1). (Source: CDC)
A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.
To understand stroke, it helps to understand the brain. The brain controls our movements, stores our memories, and is the source of our thoughts, emotions, and language. The brain also controls many functions of the body, like breathing and digestion.
To work properly, your brain needs oxygen. Although your brain makes up only 2% of your body weight, it uses 20% of the oxygen you breathe.1 Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your brain.
What Happens During a Stroke
If something happens to block the flow of blood, brain cells start to die within minutes because they can’t get oxygen. This causes a stroke.
There are two types of stroke:
An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. Fatty deposits called plaque can also cause blockages by building up in the blood vessels.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. Blood builds up and damages surrounding brain tissue.
Both types of stroke damage brain cells. Symptoms of that damage start to show in the parts of the body controlled by those brain cells.
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