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Identifying the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries

When the head is hit by a sudden force that causes the brain to smash into the hard, bony skull, a brain injury may occur. The soft tissue of the brain can become bruised or torn, causing it to bleed and inflame. These brain injuries occur more often than some may think. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries are involved in 30 percent of deaths caused by injuries in the United States. It is crucial to understand how to identify a brain injury so that people can get the treatment they need to recover.

Some brain injuries may be difficult to identify, as symptoms may take days or weeks to appear. By that time, significant damage may occur. The symptoms of mild brain injuries, including persistent headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness, tingling in the extremities, difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping, can mimic other illnesses and may be missed at first. Moderate to severe brain injuries may cause seizures, changes in mood, loss of vision or hearing and trouble communicating. Brain injuries can make it difficult to concentrate, organize tasks, write, speak, make decisions, remember things and understand others.

People may be unable to return to work because they are unable to perform the same tasks they did prior to having a brain injury. While some employers may accommodate the injured employee, some do not. People may be forced to find another job or leave the workforce altogether. Although some may regain skills through intense therapy, others may be unable to return to their post-injured state.

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