Anyone who has been in a car accident expects to see some cuts and bruises. If there aren’t any broken bones or severe injuries, they may feel there is no need to go to the hospital.
However, failure to receive immediate medical attention could put their life at risk.
Traumatic brain injuries can be more subtle than you realize
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The common signs of a TBI include:
- Vision problems
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
While the primary damage is usually immediately apparent, secondary damage could take days or weeks to develop due to the different reactive processes occurring within the body. When symptoms occur, they may be subtle and initially overlooked as associated with the TBI. Changes in mood, sleep disturbances and difficulty concentrating continue to worsen until it becomes apparent they are related to the initial injury.
Failure to treat a TBI could lead to severe long-term health issues, such as:
- Physical disabilities, including visual changes, fatigue, paralysis, seizures and balance problems
- Cognitive impairments, in the form of memory loss and dementia
- Behavior changes, such as angry outbursts and lack of impulse control
Therefore, a complete medical examination is imperative if you have been in a car accident. There are several tests a medical professional may perform to diagnose a TBI.
An immediate medical assessment typically includes the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This is a 15-point test that helps the physician measure the initial severity of a brain injury by checking the person’s ability to follow directions and move their eyes and limbs. The assessment will be followed by a medical examination, a neurological examination and imaging tests that will show the extent and severity of the injury.
An early diagnosis and treatment plan is essential for the best possible prognosis. That’s why seeking medical attention after any head injury is crucial, even if symptoms aren’t immediately present.