Thursday, October 11, 2007

Head Injuries

The incidence of head injuries is dropping in Canada. In a report issued by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the rate of children and youth with traumatic head injury admitted to hospital dropped by 53% from 1994 to 2004 and deaths dropped by 34%. However, while the numbers dropped, the severity of the injuries increased by 46%. Among seniors, there was a slight increase (4%) of head injuries, but it should be kept in mind that the population of seniors rose by 17% in the same period.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 1.5 million people per year in the United States experience a traumatic brain injury. This compares to an annual rate of 176,300 people affected by breast cancer and 43,681 affected by HIV/AIDS. The report states that 50,000 people per year die from traumatic brain injuries and 80,000 live with the long-term effects of such an injury.

Those numbers are high and we have to keep in mind that head and traumatic brain injuries don't affect just the recorded number of injured, but family and friends, as well.

The lower rate of children with head injuries is likely because of the increased awareness of what causes head injuries and the injury prevention programs, from bicycle helmets to stricter rules about participating in sports following a concussion. But, there is still a lot that needs to be done.

Another issue is sometimes a bang on the head that doesn’t seem to be too bad really may be serious. This type of injury isn’t always obvious right away and the effects can catch people by surprise.

If you or someone you know has had some sort of head injury, there are some signs and symptoms you can watch for. If you see any of these or suspect that there is a problem, don’t hesitate and get medical help as soon as possible.


Get help if you notice the following symptoms:
· Any symptom that is getting worse, such as headaches, nausea or sleepiness
· Nausea that doesn't go away
· Changes in behavior, such as irritability or confusion
· Dilated pupils (pupils that are bigger than normal) or pupils of different sizes
· Trouble walking or speaking
· Drainage of bloody or clear fluids from ears or nose
· Vomiting
· Seizures
· Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs

News for Today:

Statins cut risk of heart attack in men with elevated cholesterol: study
Stored blood lacks oxygen-making ability: study
Elderly don't know stroke signs: study
HER-2 status could predict chemo success
Severe heart defect likely caused by genetic factors
Health Canada to advise against cough, cold remedies for infants
Head injury may increase the risk of ALS

No comments: