How Do I Know If I Have Brain Damage?
Brain damage can happen in a number of ways; whether you have had a stroke, a brain aneurysm, or some type of injury that affected your brain, the degree of damage may be mild, moderate, or severe. Not all types of damage to the brain are immediately evident, and symptoms may develop over time.If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury, a stroke, or any other type of medical emergency or if you’re caring for someone who has, it’s important to understand how this type of damage happens, how the brain changes when it occurs, and what type of symptoms may Brain damage show up. While only a doctor or brain trauma specialist can diagnose brain damage, there are several different clues that may indicate you have suffered this type of problem.
The Causes of Brain Damage
When people think about traumatic brain injuries and damage to the brain, they usually think about accidents such as traffic accidents, injuries that occur from playing sports, or from being hit on the head with a blunt object. While brain damage can often happen this way, it is not the only cause. Brain tumors or a brain aneurysm can also cause damage to the brain, as can heart attacks, strokes, bodily infection, and exposure to certain chemicals. If you’re not sure if you have damage to your brain, it is important to know what type of accident or illness that you suffered and that you understand the difference between the two types of brain damage.
Types of Brain Damage
There are two major types of brain damage: traumatic and acquired.
Traumatic brain injury usually occurs with accidents such as falls, blows to the head, or other types of accidents that cause blunt force trauma to the head. The damage can occur either directly to the brain, such as if the skull is fractured or pierced by a bullet, or by a head injury that causes brain bruising or swelling within the cranial cavity. Swelling of the brain can cut off vital oxygen supply, causing damage.
In acquired brain damage, the cause is not due to injury but to illness, such as brain tumors that put pressure on certain parts of the brain, strokes that are the result of a blood clot in the brain, or exposure to toxic substances, such as drugs or inhalants. Once you know what type of damage you may have experienced, it will be easier to understand and isolate any symptoms you’re experiencing.
Recognizing Symptoms of Brain Damage
There are many different types of symptoms that are associated with brain damage, but some of them occur over time and may not be as easy to spot. Some lesser-known symptoms of either type of damage to the brain may include personality changes, fatigue, an inability to make simple decisions, balance changes, and memory loss, both short and long term. Other symptoms that are more evident are repeated loss of consciousness, inability to understand others when they speak, the inability to speak clearly, and problems with vision.
If you have experienced a brain injury due to an accident or illness and are not sure if your brain has suffered damage, one or more of these symptoms may be a clue. If you are caring for a loved one who has suffered a brain aneurysm, a stroke, or who suffered a head injury and notice any of these symptoms, you should consult a physician right away so that they discuss treatment options with you and your loved one.
Can Brain Damage Be Treated?
Not all brain injuries cause long-term damage: for example, a concussion, which occurs when people experience a sharp, sudden blow to the head, can cause a number of issues such as slurred speech, vision problems, and vomiting, but with care and treatment, the damage is not permanent. Other, more debilitating damage can take years to heal and will need therapeutic treatment.
Damage that has caused physical symptoms can be treated with both medication and physical therapy, and depending on the extent of the injury, may also be much improved. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered brain damage, only a doctor or neurologist can make a diagnosis, but understanding the symptoms and treatment may lead to a faster and more effective recovery.