Chicago residents who suffer traumatic brain injuries may have a higher risk of serious cognitive problems. Older adults in particular may be more likely to develop dementia.
What is a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can impact a person after they have suffered a sharp blow to the head or an object penetrates the skull. Brain injuries are more common than many realize and can be sustained in car accidents, falls, acts of violence and certain sports activities. Millions of people are affected and are even disabled by TBIs.
What is the relationship between TBIs and dementia?
People who suffer repeated TBIs have a much higher risk of dementia as they get older. If a person suffered multiple head injuries especially if they have lost consciousness, they have a 50% higher risk of dementia compared with people who have never experienced a TBI. This is even true if the injury is mild.
In addition to dementia, there is also a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have found that older adults who have a history of moderate TBIs have a 2.3 times higher risk than those who never had a brain injury. Those who have a history of severe TBIs have a 4.5 times higher risk of Alzheimer’s.
What are some preventive measures?
While there’s no absolute way to prevent a potential TBI, you can lower your risk by taking precautions while performing certain activities. For example, if you play any high-impact combat sports, you should wear protective gear like helmets. Use defensive driving to your advantage to avoid a potential car accident. You can even do things to reduce your risk of falling.
Check your vision regularly, remove anything that could serve as a hazard for falling and use your seat belt whenever you’re in a vehicle.
If you suffer a TBI, it’s important to immediately seek medical attention. Treatment could make a difference.