According to Headway, the UK’s leading brain injury charity every year up to 1 million people who attend hospital will have sustained a head injury of some sort. By far the most common type of brain injury is caused by a blow to the head, often in a road accident or fall.
The effects of brain injury are often devastating and can include physical disability, memory loss, speech difficulties and severe behavioral problems.
Most brain injuries happen whilst people are doing things they regularly take part in, like driving, socialising or playing a sport.
Although brain injury is killing and disabling more young people in the UK than anything else, research shows less than a quarter of people actually feel at risk of one.
Headway tells us that amongst those who are discharged from hospital following a minor injury, just over half will experience symptoms that affect their lives, such as poor memory, erratic mood swings, depression and sensitivity to light and noise.
Men are three times more likely to have a brain injury than women and men aged between 15-29 are FIVE times more likely to suffer a brain injury.
People who have survived a brain injury generally have a normal life expectancy. It is estimated that in England alone, there are 420,000 people of working age living with the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury.
Whilst it is not hard to identify those who have suffered a severe injury, requiring a stay in a hospital, mild injuries with long-term consequences can be overlooked. It is estimated that as many as three-quarters of mild brain injuries may go unreported and un-assessed by medical professionals.
In many instances, GP’s are unaware that a patient who is presenting symptoms that could indicate brain injury because the patient may not feel that a bump to the head they sustained sometime previous to their surgery visit has any bearing on the symptoms they are discussing with their doctor and neglect to tell them. (In fact, as you will have heard 'on-air' 72% of us are unaware of the potential long-term consequences of a mild brain injury. ) So its vitally important to let your GP know. Some symptoms, such as depression, may not appear for months or even years after the accident. It’s little wonder that neither they nor their doctor makes the connection and the real cause of the problem is missed.
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