Acquired Brain Injury – Six Types

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Just hearing the words “brain injury” can be alarming and frightening for the person who has been injured and their family. Many people associate the words with mental retardation or mental illness. It is different. An acquired brain injury means that it occurred after the person’s birth. It can occur at any age. It does not include hereditary conditions or genetic abnormalities. Neither does it include degenerative diseases much as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. This article describes six types of acquired brain injuries. 1. Traumatic brain injury This is caused by an outside force or trauma that injuries the brain. The most common causes are falls, motorcycle or car crashes, assaults, or sports injuries. Shaking an infant or very young child can injure the brain. The force of the blow may result in the brain moving and banging against the inside of the skull. This can cause more damage due to bleeding, bruising, or tearing of brain cells. As the brain swells, more damage can occur. Many service members in Iraq and Afghanistan have been injured due to blasts and explosions with bullets or shrapnel damaging the brain. Shock waves from the explosions can also damage brain tissue. 2. Anoxia When the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it is called anoxia or hypoxia. Common causes of anoxia are near drownings, choking, suffocation, strangulation, heart attacks, lung damage, or very low blood pressure. 3. Stroke The medical term is cardiovascular accident, often referred to as a CVA. A stroke is caused when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted. This can happen when an artery is blocked due to a clot or is narrowed because of cholesterol. A stroke can also be caused by bleeding in or around the brain when a blood vessel ruptures.

4. Aneurysm When there is a weak spot somewhere in the walls of the brain’s arteries or veins, it can weaken over time and burst. This results in bleeding in the brain. 5. Toxemia Poisoning from chemical or biological factors can damage the brain. Toxemia can be caused by drugs, medications, chemicals, gases, or even toxic foods. 6. Viruses and bacteria An infection of the brain can be very damaging. Meningitis, encephalitis, herpes, and HIV are examples.. Seeking treatment Any type of brain injury should be treated as soon as possible by a physician. Depending on what area of the brain is affected, the person may have physical symptoms, cognitive changes or altered thinking, difficulty with communication, emotional or behavioral changes. A person with more severe symptoms is more likely to seek medical care immediately. But minor changes are warning signs that also need to be assessed by a physician. If you suspect that someone has had a brain injury, the first step is to talk with the person, share your observations, and encourage the person to get help. The next step is for the person to share a medical, family and military history with the physician. The brain can be injured in many ways and the effects can be different for each person. Obvious signs, such as loss of consciousness, being dazed or confused, clear damage to the head, being involved in a blast or explosion, or receiving a blow to the head require immediate evaluation and treatment. But the symptoms of brain injury can be both subtle and delayed. It is important to seek treatment for any symptoms for early diagnosis and care.

Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Lash and Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. Books, pamphlets and information on the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of traumatic brain injury in children, adults and veterans. For a tip card with more information on Brain Injury: How to Recognize and Treat It by Harvey E. Jacobs, Ph.D. and Flora Hammond, M.D. go to

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Hemiparesis Living Care, Rehabilitation Recovery, Safety: Includes Care for living with : One Side Partial Paralysis or Muscle Weakness, Footdrop or Spasticity resulting from Head Injury or Stroke
Home Care and Safety, Rehabilitation exercises,associated conditions, problem areas, treatment options, behavioral, emotional consequences, realistic goals, future expectations, resources, brain training and safety practices are covered. Safety and care at home of those affected is the primary focus. This book compiles researching current health care practices emphasizing safety with reviewing valuable lessons learned and studied in over 30 years since the author 'awoke' from a coma, revealing his own partial paralysis or hemiparesis and beginning the road back through rehabilitation and subsequent successful life an an engineer and self growth author