Brain Injury, Tumor or Aneurysm
Traumatic Brain Injury
Each year, over 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Most often caused by car accidents, falls, sports injuries and violence, a TBI can range from mild to severe.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
While the majority of TBI's are concussions or other injuries falling within the "mild" category, their effects should not be taken lightly. Some who experience a Mild TBI may lose consciousness for up to 30 minutes at the time the injury occurs. Other symptoms, many of which may not occur immediately, include headaches, memory loss, confusion, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, loss of balance, mood changes and nausea.
If you have been diagnosed with a Mild TBI, your physician will discuss your treatment options with you. This may include medications, changes in diet and changes in your daily routine. It is also important to know that your recovery may take weeks or even months.
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Moderate to severe brain injuries may be caused by a hard blow to the head, an object penetrating the skull or a strong jolt. These types of injuries could result in a subdural hematoma (a collection of blood on the brain) or a subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding between the brain and a tissue that covers it).
In addition to those experienced by patients with Mild TBI, symptoms may include convulsions, pupil dilation, slurred speech and headaches which may worsen over time.
The treatment of a moderate to severe TBI will vary by patient and by circumstance. Your neurologist or neurosurgeon will discuss options with you or your family member, which may include medications, hospitalization and/or surgery.
A tumor is a growth or mass of tissue caused by abnormal cell growth. The cause of brain tumors, which can affect patients of any age, is not known although certain genetic and environmental risk factors have been found. There are over 120 types of brain tumors, both malignant (containing cancer cells) and benign (those which do not contain cancer cells).
The most common brain tumors are primary brain tumors; those which originate in the brain tissues or nerves, the brain stem or glands located within the brain. Less common are metastatic, or secondary, brain tumors. These are caused by cancer spreading from another part of the body.
Symptoms of a brain tumor are similar to other neurologic conditions and should be discussed with your doctor. These may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, memory loss, changes in vision, speech difficulties, weakness of an arm or leg or convulsive seizures.
Treatment options for brain tumors vary by their type, size and location, as well as your general health and personal goals. Surgery may be a likely option for you, but your neurosurgeon and neurologist may also recommend radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy and medication.
Your brain recieves between 15 and 20 percent of your body's blood supply, delivered through blood vessels on top and throughout your brain. A cerebral aneurysm, or bulging of the wall of an artery, may occur for a number of reasons including a genetic defect, artery disease or damage caused over time.
If you are one of the approximately 5 percent of Americans diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm, it is important to know that only a small percentage of patients will experience a leak or rupture. It is also important to know that there are treatment options available.
The symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include a sudden and severe headache, nausea, vomiting, convulsions or seizures, coma or weakness, numbness, double vision or a loss of vision. This is potentially a life-threatening event and it is critical that immediate medical attention is sought if any one or more of these symptoms occur.
Following a thorough evaluation, your neurologist or neurosurgeon will discuss appropriate treatment options with you and your family if a ruptured aneurysm is detected. Treatment may include a combination of medication and rest or, for patients who are appropriate for surgery, a craniotomy or endovascular repair.