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What happens in the brain if there is brain damage?

Lone Star Neurology
Medically reviewed by Lone Star Neurology
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Lone Star Neurology
Medically reviewed by Lone Star Neurology

It’s estimated that throughout the United States, an average 1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury every year. Of these 1.7 million people, around 75 percent of the brain injuries sustained are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury.

According to the Texas Brain Injury Alliance, around 10,000 Texans find themselves becoming permanently disabled every year due to a traumatic brain injury. With, on average, 400 Texans hospitalized each and every day so that they can receive medical assistance with their traumatic brain injury, there is a definite need for a greater pool of public knowledge on the subject. Things such as what may happen to the brain if there is brain damage or how long a patient may require rehabilitation for are generally unknown by the public. Here at Lone Star Neurology, Texas, we’ve put together this short guide to help raise awareness about brain injuries.

The Common Causes of Brain Damage

Brain damage is an injury that commonly causes deterioration of brain cells. There are two kinds of brain injury: traumatic brain injuries are cause by external forces that either cause damage to the skull, or causes the brain to violently move and hit the inside of the skull, and acquired brain injuries that can occur as a result of neurological conditions such as stroke.

It’s estimated that around 795,000 people throughout the United States experience a stroke every year, making it one of the most common causes of acquired brain injuries. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health has shown that around one in six Americans aged 65 and over will experience a stroke. Around 80 to 90 percent of people survive a stroke, and many of these require many years of rehabilitation due to disabilities that emerge as a result of the stroke; for example, speech impairments, and cognitive disabilities such as memory problems.

What Happens in the Brain When it is Damaged?

When somebody suffers from an injury to the brain, this sets off a sequence of events that often cause issues with the function of the brain. The initial injury or stroke can leave serious damage to the brain. After a sudden impact, or during the initial moments of a stroke, the usually perfect balance of chemicals contained in the brain are disrupted, and as such the normal cell function is often dramatically altered.

Following the initial trauma to the brain, there is often a whole host of other issues that emerge. These complications are known as secondary injuries and can occur any time from a few hours to a few days after the initial brain injury. Examples of secondary injuries Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

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