Every year, some 13,000 Quebecers sustain a traumatic brain injury. In Quebec, it is the leading cause of death in people 35 and younger; in other words, it does not only happen to others. Let’s learn more about it now.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury, also called a TBI or intracranial injury, can be understood as the damages and problems caused by a blow to the head, be it direct or indirect.
TBIs occur when the brain is violently jolted or hit in a way that destroys brain cells or causes a dysfunction in the intracranial nervous system.
This type of injury can lead to a sudden alteration in the state of consciousness (e.g. mild confusion or coma) that varies in length and severity depending on the type of TBI involved (mild, moderate or severe). TBIs can also be associated with a skull fracture or fractures.
The causes of TBIs differ based on a person’s age group:
In adults, they are caused by these factors:
- Traffic accidents (45%)
- Falls (30%)
- Work-related accidents (10%)
- Sports and leisure (10%)
- Physical assaults (5%)
In children, the main causes are:
- Falls (35%)
- Sports and leisure (29%)
These statistics clearly indicate the importance of road safety as a means of prevention. To help bring down these numbers always respect the speed limit, never drive under the influence of alcohol and do not text and drive.
In addition, to help prevent TBIs, both children and adults should wear appropriate, proper-fitting protective gear when practising at-risk sports and activities.
The following symptoms are generally associated with a mild TBI, better known as a concussion.
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Confusion and disorientation
- Memory problems
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Nausea and vomiting
Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical attention.
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to permanent complications, which may vary in nature and number. The degree of severity of these complications will depend on the region of the brain affected, the type of trauma involved and the age and medical history of the person who has sustained the injury. Here are a few examples:
- Partial or total paralysis
- Impaired coordination
- Partial or complete loss of hearing and sight
- Attention and concentration deficits
- Learning difficulties
- Memory and speech disturbances
Emotional and behavioural complications
- Impulsiveness and impatience
- Lack of inhibition
- Sudden mood swings and diminished emotional control
All brain injuries, including mild ones, require a period of recovery. In all cases, people affected by a TBI should never rush back to their daily activities.
Depending on the severity of the TBI, some people will require medical treatment and rehabilitation. The support of loved ones and the services of specialized professionals are an integral part of the rehabilitation process.
For many years now, the Uniprix Group has been a proud partner of the Fondation Martin-Matte, which helps victims of traumatic brain injuries. If you are interested in contributing to this cause, go to the Fondation Martin-Matte website or participate in the Uniprix Fondation Martin-Matte Cup.
Do you have questions about traumatic brain injuries? Your family pharmacist is there to help. Just ask!