Did you know that every 8 seconds someone in the world sustains a traumatic head injury? One and a half million Indians suffer from head injury annually, and over 70,000 of these injuries sustain permanent irreversible damage. Keeping these statistics in mind, it is safe to assume that head injury is not something to be taken lightly. It is considered as one of the most serious injuries because of the delicate nature of the human brain. There are two types of head injuries, namely open and closed injury. In the former, something breaks the skull and enters the brain while in the latter, the skull remains intact. Both these cases are of serious injuries, while the open injury is mostly fatal. Brain is the most important part of the human body which primarily controls all other parts and organs of the body. But, what if the brain suffers a head injury and doesn’t function properly? How will it affect other body parts? Read on to know about the top 10 reasons why head injuries are the worst!
A hemorrhage is the medical term for uncontrolled bleeding in the brain incurred due to a severe head injury. There can be bleeding in the skull cavity or bleeding within the brain tissue. If a patient experiences headaches and dizziness then it is most probably due to uncontrolled bleeding in the skull cavity, while on the other hand, if the patient experiences frequent migraine attacks, then it is most likely that his brain tissue is bruised. While both these cases are life threatening, they can be cured if diagnosed and treated properly.
9. Hormonal Imbalance
Brain injury occasionally causes damage to the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which are present at the base of brain responsible for regulating the body’s hormones. Damage to these glands can lead to insufficient or excessive hormonal release which causes disruption of the body’s ability to maintain a stable environment known as ‘homeostasis’. Some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance are depression, impotency, mood swings, muscle weakness, etc. Each symptom is caused by the change in level of each type of hormone released by the pituitary gland. Hormonal imbalance is treated by the hormone replacement therapy.
Head injuries can leave a body paralyzed by which the patient loses his control over that body part. In some weird cases, the affected body part sends wrong signals to the brain. For example, if the patient tries to move his paralyzed leg, the brain executes a command to move a hand instead of the leg. Paralysis is treatable and is a very complex procedure to operate upon as the brain has innumerable number of connections and neurons. Moreover, if the spinal cord is effected by the head injury then the whole body gets paralyzed which is usually non-treatable.
7. Loss of Intellectual Prowess
In some head injury cases, the intellectual prowess of the patient is greatly affected resulting in severe communication problems. The patient might experience ‘aphasia’ which is the medical term for language impairment in which he loses his ability to understand a language. Moreover, the patient might also suffer from speech disorder and attention difficulties. The patient is deprived of his intelligence and capabilities in solving scientific problems like solving puzzles.
6. Damaged Sensory Organs
Severe head injury usually affects the sensory organs of the body as all the organs are linked to the brain via neurons. These neurons die if the head injury is traumatic and it usually results in patient losing his ability to see, hear, smell, etc. When it comes to head injury, even a slight injury can make the patient lose his eyesight as it is a very delicate sensory organ. Moreover, it greatly affects the cognitive functions of the human body which results in executive dysfunction.
5. Post Traumatic Amnesia
Amnesia is one of the most common outcome of a head injury in which the patient experiences loss of memory. In some cases entire or some portion of memory is fully erased and the patient loses his ability to recognize anyone. There are chances that the memory of the patient might return but there is still a greater chance that they might not remember everything. Moreover, the worst case scenario is when the patient is put under pressure to remember things and his memory gets even more deteriorated. So, extra care must be observed while interacting with these patients.
4. Non-Diagnostic damage
There are times when the patient is not aware of the injury to the brain and lives his life normally until it is too late. The brain injury gets worse with time and starts effecting the day to day life of the patient. The symptoms of the head injury include nausea, puking, blurred vision, fluid discharge from nose and eyes, migraine, etc. If the head injury is not treated on time then the injury to the brain starts to swell and get worse with time. Moreover, this damage is usually irreparable as proper diagnostic was not done on time.
Coma is considered as the “limbo” between life and death as there is no guarantee if the patient will ever wake up. Some patients usually take a few hours to wake up ,while others may take years! A head injury leaves the patient in a coma with no knowledge of when they will wake up. In some cases patients never come out of coma and are kept under constant surveillance and care. It is slightly different from the brain-dead condition because all the sensory functions of the patient are active and they can hear everything that is happening around them, but they usually can’t respond as all motor skills are affected. Sometimes, they even try to respond by flickering their eyes and moving their fingers. Moreover, coma is usually non-treatable because it is entirely up to the patient if they want to wake up or not and doctors do nothing but keep constant checks on the breathing of the patient.
Brain-dead is the medical situation in which the brain of the human body has died due to a head injury. This is considered to be the most rare medical condition because people usually die due to severe internal bleeding. In this case only the heart functions and every other organs lose their motor functions. The patient is considered to be a living corpse as no sensory organs work as their connection to the brain is dead. Moreover, once brain dies, there is no chance of recovery. In recent times there has been a great controversy on this precise topic as to what should the doctors do if the patient has no chance of recovery. The concept of “Mercy Killing” is highly debated as it is considered as a step against humanity.
Death is the ultimate outcome of a head injury as 1 out of every 10 patients fall to its prey according to latest medical statistics. In some cases death comes instantly due to severe hit on the head which leads to internal blood loss and ultimately death. Moreover, in some cases the patient might look fine on the outside but the clotting in brain increases to such extent that it blocks the normal flow of the blood and usually causes death if not operated immediately. According various medical journals the probability of death is very high in severe head injuries due to excessive brain trauma.
In the event of head injury, one should seek immediate medical attention to root out possible underlying problems. Moreover, always keep the golden rule in mind: “Prevention is better than cure”!