Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs1, affect the lives of Americans nationwide. Anyone can experience a TBI, but data show that children and older adults (ages 65 and older) are at greater risk. Many TBIs, including concussions, are preventable, and you can help. Jay Harold’s Post, “Brain Injury Facts & Prevention: 74 Older Adults Die Daily,” attempts to shed light on this topic.
Jay Harold found a fact sheet from the CDC about traumatic brain injury (TBI). This information is important because brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths.2 Every day, 138 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI. Those who survive a TBI can face effects lasting a few days to disabilities which may last the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression). These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.
Change Your Mind about Brain Injury
Brain Injury Awareness Month3 is recognized each year in March. During this time, CDC focuses on helping to increase the knowledge and understanding of brain injuries. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” to “severe,” and can change the way you think, act, move, and feel. Falls account for almost half (47 percent) of all TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths4. Other common causes include being struck by or against an object (such as colliding with another person) and motor vehicle crashes.
Parents have an important role in protecting their children from TBIs and can learn what can cause brain injuries and how to avoid them. Public health professionals can also help inform prevention strategies and identify research and education priorities to protect people from TBIs and their potentially devastating effects.
TBI in Children
This year, in support of Brain Injury Awareness month efforts, CDC released a Report to Congress on the Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children5. This report reviews the burden of TBI in children, identifies gaps in our current systems of care, and presents recommendations for improving the outcomes of children who have experienced brain injuries. The report encourages parents, healthcare providers, and school professionals to better recognize TBIs, monitor the recovery process, care for, and support children after a TBI in a coordinated way. CDC’s HEADS UP initiative6 has information about how to recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or another serious brain injury.
TBI in Older Adult Falls
Falls are the leading cause of all TBIs, and adults aged 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death. CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries, or STEADI7 initiative, is a toolkit designed to help healthcare providers incorporate fall risk assessment and individualized fall prevention interventions—such as strength and balance exercises, and medication management—in their practices. Fall prevention brochures and resources for older adults and their caregivers are available here.
Falls affect us all—whether personally or someone we love or care about. Every second of every day an older adult falls. In 2015 alone, more than one in four older adults reported falling, and more than 28,000 older adults died as a result of falls—that’s 74 older adults every day. There are simple steps you can take to prevent falls and decrease falls risks. CDC developed the STEADI initiative which includes educational materials and tools to improve fall prevention.
YOU Can Make the Difference
You can make the difference in keeping your brain safe and in keeping your children and older adults in your life safe as well. Every day, 153 Americans die from TBI-related injuries. Even those who survive can face lasting effects and disabilities. Get informed and talk about brain safety with others in your family and your community. Learn more about how you can help keep your family and community safe from TBI by visiting our Web pages on the following topics (click on content):
- CDC Injury Center: Traumatic Brain Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths—United States, 2007 and 2013
- Report to Congress on the Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
- CDC Injury Center: HEADS UP
In 2013, about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States. I hope this post,”Brain Injury Facts & Prevention: 74 Older Adults Die Daily,” helped you gain a better understanding of this issue.
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