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Understanding the long-term consequences of brain trauma

Although it only takes a brief moment for a brain injury to occur, the aftereffects of an injury can last for several years or even longer. In some cases, brain trauma can be permanent and can change a person’s life forever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 2.5 million people in Massachusetts and across the U.S. suffer symptoms of brain injuries that are serious enough for them to visit the emergency room, become hospitalized or even pass away.

While some symptoms of traumatic brain injuries may dissipate over time with early diagnosis and proper treatment, others may become long-term. This depends on what part of the brain was injured, as well as the severity of the trauma. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, these symptoms are case specific, and may include the following:

  • Seizures disorders
  • Sensory deficits, such as hearing or visual problems
  • Difficulty making decisions, organizing, planning and/or focusing
  • Changes in mood, depression and other mental disorders

A number of people may be unable to return to work, as their brain injury may affect their ability to perform their job. Victims of brain trauma may require long-term medical care and ongoing speech, physical and/or occupational therapy in order to function. People may experience a significant decline in their quality of life, finances and relationships as a result.

Surgery to remove ruptured blood vessels, clots and areas of damaged brain tissue is required for nearly half of all people suffering from severe brain trauma. If, by chance, the brain injury is not diagnosed, continued bleeding, inflammation and bruising can cause further cognitive damage.  

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