Head injuries

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Head injuries, also known as traumatic brain injuries, are injuries that result in damage to the brain. These types of injures are most common among males between ages 15 and 24. Many head injuries are mild, with symptoms disappearing over time, while others may result in permanent disability. They may be caused by a fall while engaging in a recreational activity such as skiing or bicycling, from a car or motorcycle accident, or from being hit by a fast-moving object, such as a bullet piercing the skull. Problems that can result from a head injury include shortened attention span, memory problems, paralysis, poor balance, changes in senses, speech and language problems, personality changes, and loss of bowel and bladder control. Two to five percent of people who sustain head injuries also develop epilepsy. Prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment can help minimize some of the problems, although the outcome may remain unknown for months or years. Following initial life-saving treatment, a team of specialists may be needed to evaluate and treat any resulting problems. The team may include experts in a variety of fields, including rehabilitation medicine, psychiatry, nursing, neuropsychology, social work, nutrition, and special education. In addition, occupational, physical, speech and language therapies, cognitive retraining, activity therapy, or vocational rehabilitation may be required. There are many types of rehabilitation programs available, depending on the extent of the injury and lifestyle requirements of the patient. An important way to avoid head injuries during sports or while cycling is to always wear a helmet. For more information about head injuries, contact a healthcare professional.

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