Brain injury victims may have one more worry: a stroke

Posted on in Catastrophic Injuries

When you suffer a brain injury, there are the more immediate health conditions that arise. Physically, you may have a fractured skull or internal bleeding that will take some time to heal. Mentally, you may suffer from temporary memory loss, or in more extreme cases may experience personality changes. Financially you are faced with growing medical bills as you continue to need therapy and treatment.

But a new study is showing an additional issue that could arise after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Researchers believe that victims of a traumatic brain injury have an increased risk of suffering a stroke in the years immediately following the injury.

Those in the field studying brain injuries caution that this new data does not necessarily mean that brain injury victims will likely suffer a stroke or that there is a correlation between the two. The study simply shows that brain injury victims are at a greater risk of stoke than those who have not suffered a brain injury.

Many factors are believed to contribute to this heightened risk. For one, a brain injury can lead to other medical complications that can increase the risk of stroke such as blood clots or arterial tears. The research also showed that victims had greater risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and even heart failure that could contribute to the risk of a stroke.

Thousands of patients were studied and then compared with patients who had never suffered a brain injury. Analysis of the data reflected that a greater percentage of patients who had suffered a traumatic brain injury also suffered a stroke when compared to their brain injury-less counterparts. The data also showed that the risk of a stroke was greatest in the years immediately following the brain injury - with time the risk decreased.

Should brain injury victims be worried about a stroke on top of all the other things they are dealing with? Even a greater risk of a stroke could mean additional doctor's appointments, medication, and therapy for the patient, increasing the financial challenges he or she may already be facing.

If a brain injury was the result of an accident caused by someone else's negligence, the victim could seek compensation. A monetary award would help the patient with medical expenses and other costs such as lost wages as he or she recovers from the injury.

Source: USA Today: "Brain injury may boost stroke risk," Steven Reinberg, Aug. 1, 2011.

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