Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer’s Disease: Can a Head Injury Increase My Risk?

A traumatic brain injury or TBI is when there is a hit or injury to the head that is so hard it impacts the brain and disrupts normal functioning. The degree of disruption will depend on the severity of the impact, but it can include damage to the individual’s ability to learn and think. According to emergency room reports, the majority of TBIs are from falls, car accidents, or direct hits by something. Within the military, TBIs are from by the shock wave caused by explosions. TBIs can also be caused by injuries that penetrate the skull and brain, such as bullet wounds.

The symptoms of a TBI will vary based on the severity of the injury but may include short-term memory loss, disorientation or confusion, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, nausea or vomiting, ringing in your ears, apparent changes in emotions, reactions, or sleeping patterns, or difficulty speaking and remembering words. Anytime you experience an injury to your head; you should see a doctor immediately to be examined. If you choose not to but then start experiencing any of these symptoms, you should change your mind and see a doctor. Brain injuries can be very damaging with symptoms that never go away. It is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

While there are still many unanswered questions, medical professionals have been able to create some links between TBIs and Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, older adults with a history of moderate traumatic brain injury were over two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease than those without a history of TBIs. Individuals with a history of severe traumatic brain injuries were almost five times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.

It is important to note that the increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease is from a history of brain injuries, not a single event. Someone who suffers from one concussion, even a severe one, will not be at higher risk overall. However, severe TBI can cause other forms of dementia. Professional athletes in sports that are highly physical, like football, soccer, or boxing, are a higher risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a form of dementia. CTE is a direct result of the repeated traumas they experience to their brains.

In 2016, the Journal of Neurology printed an article that connected the history of TBIs with the earlier onset of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or other forms of dementia. Another study published in PLOS Medical Journal in 2018 stated that the increased risk of dementia maintains for decades. Once the damage is done that increases the risk of dementia, it cannot be reversed.

Repeated injuries are frequently avoidable; accidents or negligence cause them either on the job or at home. For individuals who have put in positions to suffering multiple TBIs, holding those responsible who created the situation is essential. You don’t only have to think about your immediate medical needs, but potential future needs. Fault and increased risk of future medical problems can be challenging to prove and clarify, which is why you should seek professional counsel if you feel you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence.

A traumatic brain injury attorney can listen to your unique story and provide you insight on the risks associated with your injuries, as well as a realistic understanding of fault. They can help you get the compensation you need to ensure you and your family will be taken care of today and down the road. Caring for someone with dementia can be overwhelming and expensive; it is crucial to protect your family as much as you can.

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