Brain injury awareness week takes place every year during the last full week of May
Every day in the UK, a person with an acquired brain injury is admitted to hospital every 90 seconds. Brain injuries can be caused by stroke, tumour, a fall or a road accident.
Brain injury can cause life-changing problems and if you suspect that you have sustained one, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Symptoms of concussion could include, headaches, nausea, feeling dizzy, feeling confused or finding it difficult to remember information. People could also experience vision distortion or sensitivity to light.
A minor head injury is diagnosed when the person loses consciousness for less than 30 minutes, or does not lose consciousness at all. They may also experience a period (less than 24 hours) of post-traumatic amnesia where the person is confused, acting in a strange manner and is unable to remember what has just occurred.
People should seek medical advice urgently, if they experience one or more of the following symptoms after a brain injury:
Difficulties speaking or understanding, disorientation or loss of consciousness
Problems with balance or walking or weakness in either or both arms or legs
Drowsiness during waking hours or unable to be woken up
Vomiting, clear fluid from nose or ears, deafness in one or both ears which wasn’t there before or bleeding from the ears
Double vision or blurred vision or a bad headache which is not relieved by painkillers or seizures
Moderate head injuries may involve longer periods of post-traumatic amnesia and longer time spent unconscious. Patients may be kept in hospital for observation and discharged if there are no further medical problems. Where people who have had moderate head injuries, there is likely to be some further physical or medical symptoms.
Patients who have had a severe head injury may be hospitalised until their condition is stable and offered rehabilitation. They may be put into a medical coma and they are more likely to have more serious physical and medical issues.
The person who has had a brain injury is not the only person affected by it. Partners, children and parents will also have to adjust to living with a person with such an injury.
Physical effects of the injury will depend on the area of the brain affected and the severity of the damage caused.
If you are learning to adjust to life after a brain injury, Headway is a charity that can help you.