What Are The Three Types Of Brain Injuries?

Receiving an injury to the brain can have a profound impact on your life. However, not all brain injuries are equally severe, nor are their effects. Brain injuries take many forms, and their severity depends on how they are produced. As an example, here are three of the most common types of brain injuries. If you or a loved one has been affected by a brain injury you can read more about their symptoms and prognosis to understand what to expect in the future.

Composition Of The Brain

The brain is built in such a way as to offer two layers of protection when it comes to brain trauma. The skull serves to protect the brain from impacts to the head, and an inner layer of cerebrospinal fluid works to cushion the brain. Yet, severe trauma to the head can overwhelm these defense barriers with a resulting injury to the brain.

Three Main Types Of Brain Injuries

Concussion

A concussion happens when the brain is forced to slosh around the cerebrospinal fluid. A pressure wave builds when the brain moves, damaging brain cells and rupturing small blood vessels within the brain. The result is swelling and inflammation that can produce a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Blurry vision
  • Tinnitus in the ears
  • Slurred speech

Despite the fact that concussions are not the most severe type of brain injury, they do affect the lives of those who have one, and symptoms may last for several months.

Contusion

When the brain is forced to move within its cavity suddenly and violently, the cerebrospinal fluid cannot perform its job of cushioning it, allowing the brain to hit the side of the skull and get bruised. The site where the bruising occurs will bleed, and this can deprive brain cells of oxygen, leading the cells to die. When the bleeding is severe, it can increase the pressure on the brain, and the result can be a coma or death.

If you’re whipped back and forth in a car accident, you may also sustain diffuse axonal injuries, which happen when the brain moves back and forth, tearing apart neurons in the brain called axons.

Penetrating Injury

When an object is able to penetrate the brain, blood vessels and neurons will tear, producing brain cell death and bleeding. It’s also common for these injuries to be accompanied by pressure building inside the skull which squeezes the brain and interrupts circulation. As a result, blood clots can form, and the victim may suffer a stroke.

Rating The Severity Of A Brain Injury

Neurologists have implemented a scale that is used to rate the severity of a brain injury. Under this scale, known as the Glasgow Coma Scale, any brain injury that causes unconsciousness is defined as severe. Severe injuries prevent patients from being able to answer even a simple question or move their body in response to a command.

While a moderate brain injury does not cause unconsciousness, it may prevent the patient from opening their eyes which they can only do when they receive any physical stimulation. Moderate brain injuries may also have the patient giving incoherent answers to questions.

Mild brain injuries allow patients to open their eyes and answer questions coherently.

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