Motor vehicle collisions and falls are frequent causes of traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can range in severity. They can affect anyone at any age, but the very old and very young may be more vulnerable to their effects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answer some common questions about TBI.
What health effects do TBIs have?
The effects of a TBI depend on the severity of the injury. A person with a moderate to severe TBI may experience symptoms for the rest of his or her life. A person with a mild TBI may recover completely within a few weeks or months.
How do TBIs affect the elderly?
Older adults are more likely to take blood thinners for clotting problems. These medications put TBI patients at risk for bleeding in the brain, a serious complication. Elderly patients may also be at risk for misdiagnosis of TBI because the symptoms can mimic those of other age-related disorders.
How can TBIs affect children?
While a TBI can have serious effects on an adult, it may be even worse for a child. A child’s brain is still developing, and an injury to the brain may disrupt the development. This is true regardless of the severity of the injury.
After a brain injury in childhood, becoming a productive adult may be a challenge. It can negatively affect a child’s capacity for self-regulation, social participation, learning and thinking, also known as cognition. As a result, there may be limitations on a child’s ability to participate in school, as well as to participate in sports and other activities.