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When older adults suffer brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries can have devastating, lifelong effects, and your chances of suffering one increase as you age. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, you face the highest risk of suffering a TBI if you are over the age of 75, although those over 65 also face heightened risks.

In fact, more than 80,000 Americans over the age of 65 visit emergency rooms after suffering TBIs every year, with many of these brain injuries sharing similar characteristics and causes.

Leading causes of brain injury among older adults

As you age, you become more prone to falling, which is the leading cause of TBI in older Americans, and this is due to a number of factors. Older people are more likely to have surgeries, take prescription medications and suffer vision and balance problems, all of which increase your chance of taking a tumble. More than 50 percent of all TBI cases in older adults are the result of falls, but the second-most common cause of TBI in older adults is car crashes. About 21 percent of all TBIs in older adults result from unknown causes, while about 1 percent result from assaults.

TBI outcomes among older adults

Unfortunately, statistics show that older adults have more trouble recovering following TBIs than the rest of the population. Furthermore, of those over the age of 55 who suffer severe TBIs, somewhere between 30 and 80 percent die because of their injuries, which is a much higher mortality rate than that experienced by younger TBI sufferers. Even older Americans who suffer mild TBIs have far higher mortality rates than younger Americans who suffer similar head injuries. Older Americans who suffer TBIs are also more likely to experience neurological issues and have to undergo lengthy hospital stays as a result of their injuries than younger people with the same types of injuries.

TBIs are always cause for concern, but when they affect older people, the repercussions can prove especially severe. If you or someone you love suffers a blow to the head, seek immediate medical treatment.

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