Symptoms Of A TBI

Symptoms Of A TBI

A TBI or traumatic brain injury can be defined as a penetrating head injury or blow to the head that affects normal brain function. Traumatic brain injury can result when an object pierces the skull, entering their brain tissue. If a person’s head hits an object very violently and suddenly, it can lead to TBI as well.

Symptoms of this type of an injury can be severe, moderate, or mild, depending on how much damage the brain has suffered. Milder cases may cause a brief change in consciousness/ mental state, while severe cases might result in extended periods of coma, unconsciousness, or even death.

The symptoms and signs of TBI aren’t always evident at the time the injury occurs. Sometimes, these signs are very subtle and may appear even days or weeks post the injury. In some cases, even though the affected person may feel or act differently, they may not show any other noticeable symptoms.


TBI Symptoms to Look Out for

If a person suffers trauma to the head, some of the listed symptoms can surface all of a sudden. If this occurs or if the symptoms worsen in the days following the injury (especially within the 24 hours post the injury), the person needs to consult a medical professional without delay. These are the symptoms to look out for:

  • Change in/loss of consciousness in the range of a few seconds up to a few hours
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Reduced level of consciousness, i.e., difficult to awaken the person
  • Double vision or unequal dilation in the pupils
  • Clear fluids leaking from the ears/nose
  • New neurologic deficits such as loss of balance, weakness of face/arms/legs, slurred speech


Some Other Common Symptoms Include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness
  • Loss of coordination/balance


Sensory Problems:

  • Ringing in ears
  • Eyes that tire easily/seeing stars/blurred vision
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to distractions, lights, or sounds
  • Feelings of anxiousness or depressiveness
  • Mood swings or changes (feeling angry/agitated or sad for no apparent reason)
  • Combativeness, or some other unusual behavior
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • Slowness in speaking, acting, reading or thinking
  • Change in sleep pattern (staying awake all night/having difficulty sleeping/inability to wake up quickly from sleep)
  • Trouble with making decisions
  • Problems concentrating or remembering

Fatigue, confusion, headache, and dizziness tend to start right after an injury but slowly resolve over time. Most emotional symptoms, such as irritability, sadness, and frustration, develop only during the recovery period.

Most of the symptoms & signs can be easily missed as the person may appear healthy overall. In some cases, there is an overlap of some conditions and symptoms such as a sleep disorder and depression. These aspects can make it challenging to spot TBI symptoms easily.


TBI Symptoms& Signs in Children

Children with TBI can have symptoms that are similar to adults. However, they can find it very challenging to explain to others how they feel. If your child suffers a blow to the head, call your doctor without delay, if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in nursing/eating habits
  • Persistent irritability, crankiness, crying
  • Lack of interest in a favorite activity/toy
  • Changes in the ability to focus and pay attention
  • Changes in how they play
  • Loss of skills like toilet training
  • Unsteady walking/ loss of balance
  • Listlessness or tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in academic performance

A TBI can also have effects on consciousness. It can cause problems with consciousness,responsiveness, alertness, arousal, andawareness. Consulting your doctor without delay, if you or a loved one is showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, after trauma to the head.

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