Many people in Montana equate brain injuries with serious car and motorcycle accidents or sports injuries, but falls are another common cause. Hitting the head can result in a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of fall and location and impact to the head.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, seniors are especially susceptible to falls. In fact, about 56,000 older adults land in the hospital every year, and around 8,000 die due to head and brain injuries. An even higher number live with a disability related to a brain injury. These disabilities may relate to emotional issues, reduced physical function capacities or cognitive changes. Due to the long-term effects, there is an increased awareness around fall prevention. Some of the recommendations for seniors include:
- Regular vision checks and appropriate corrections
- Using an assistive device such as a cane or walker
- Being aware of hazards, such as poor lighting, clutter and rug edges, in the home
- Being aware of medication interactions and side effects
The Mayo Clinic reports that not all brain injuries are the same, as they can vary from mild to severe. Examples of mild injury include headache, loss of balance, light sensitivity and mood changes. Signs of moderate and severe brain injuries include loss of coordination, coma, slurred speech, profound confusion and weakness in toes and/or fingers.
A mild brain injury may recede over time, but moderate and severe injuries usually have long-term effects. A complete cure usually is not available, and comprehensive rehabilitation is often necessary after a fall.