An Acquired Brain Injury, often abbreviated as ABI, is any brain injury that occurs after birth and is not considered to be congenital or degenerative. ABIs can often be the result of things such as traumatic injury, tumors, seizures, deprivation of oxygen, substance abuse, and infectious diseases. Millions of Americans currently live with the effects of ABIs, each of them often suffering from vastly different symptoms.
ABIs can come with physical effects, such as:
- Weakness, shaking, stiffness, poor balance
- Change in patterns
- Changes in smell or touch
- Seizures or fits
Along with the physical effects, ABIs can also affect the way a person thinks or their learning abilities, including:
- Memory problems
- Difficulties with concentration or attention
- Difficulty with making plans
- Difficulties with conversations or communications
ABIs may also cause behavioral changes:
- Mood swings
- Feeling irritable or “on edge”
- Personality changes
Can infectious diseases cause acquired brain injury? The simple answer is yes. Even a small infection, such as an impacted tooth, can lead to an acquired brain injury. Other infections can lead to the condition as well. Conditions such as:
- Lung infections
- Skin infections
- Urinary Tract infections
- Abdominal infections
- Sinus infections
These are just some of the kinds of infection, that if left untreated, can become worse and spread to brain tissue and cause an acquired brain injury.
Other kinds of infections impact the brain directly. Meningitis is a common brain infection that occurs both in bacterial form and in viral form. It primarily affects young patients. The symptoms of meningitis include sudden high fever, stiff neck, and severe headache that seems abnormal.
Another kind of brain condition that can produce similar damage to a brain infection is encephalitis. This kind of brain swelling is often the byproduct of an infection. The swelling itself can impact brain function until it goes down. In the long run, the swelling can deprive the brain of oxygen, causing the death of brain tissue.
Being diagnosed and getting immediate care is the most important step in mitigating brain injuries. The sooner that your doctor can diagnose you and begin the proper course of treatment, the better. Patients who get prompt care have a much better chance of recovery while sustaining few or no permanent impairments.
Most people will need to undergo therapy after an ABI. The types of therapy available include:
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
In general, most people adapt well after an ABI. They will relearn skills and be able to adapt to their new impairments. However, some people will need round-the-clock care. It depends on how the brain got injured, where it got injured, and how extensive the damage was.
If you believe that your doctor misdiagnosing you or delaying diagnosis caused your brain injury or caused the brain injury to worsen, you may want to speak to an attorney who is qualified in medical malpractice. An attorney who specializes in acquired brain injuries may be able to help you receive compensation.