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Symptoms of Mild, Moderate and Severe Brain Injuries

Victor Lewin - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nova Scotia traumatic brain injury victims and their families often have questions about how doctors measure the severity of a TBI and what the prognosis is for someone who has suffered from head trauma. While all injuries to the brain are serious, doctors characterise TBI on a scale from mild to severe.

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a diagnostic assessment doctors use to evaluate the severity of a brain injury. Doctors score the person based on their ability to open their eyes, speak and move. Scores of 13-15 generally indicate mild injury while scores of 9-12 indicate moderate injury and scores of 8 and below indicate severe injury.

Mild TBI has noticeable symptoms such as headache, nausea, mood changes, problems with concentration, memory and thinking, fatigue and trouble sleeping. These symptoms generally go away as the person recovers.

People with moderate TBI typically lose consciousness as a result of their injuries. They may struggle with confusion for weeks and physical and mental impairments for months. Some of these impairments may last for the rest of the person's life. However, physical and cognitive therapies often improve the injured person's chances to recover.

Severe brain injuries involve extended loss of conscious or coma. These states may last for months, and people who regain consciousness may lose the ability to speak and move.

Traumatic brain injuries tend to disrupt the lives of entire families. Even victims dealing with mild brain damage may struggle to continue contributing to their households while their spouses, children or parents make arrangements to care for them. Personal injury lawyers may be able to provide families with information on seeking personal injury suits against people whose negligence may have contributed to injured victims' conditions.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Severity of Brain Injury", December 09, 2014

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