Every year in the United States, over one million people suffer a traumatic brain injury. The injured person can undergo serious long-term health problems including emotional, mental, and physical injuries. Many of those with brain injuries will develop seizures. About 25 percent of closed head injuries and 50 percent of penetrating, or open head injuries, will result in epilepsy.
Epileptic seizures can cause serious neurological symptoms, such as severe paralysis or mental impairment. Behavioral changes and post-traumatic stress disorder are also common symptoms in those with head injuries and epilepsy.
The two types of traumatic brain injury are closed head injury and open head injury. If someone experiences a closed head injury, the wound may not appear major. It can be caused by a blow, sharp jerk, or bump. In an open head injury, there is severe penetrating trauma to the brain. When the brain is injured, its electrical functions in brain waves and nerve pathways become damaged, causing seizures.
Epilepsy is more likely to begin after an open head injury, but it may follow a closed head injury as well. It is important to understand that epileptic seizures may not arise until well after the head injury. Seizures may start months or even years after the head injury.
In most cases, symptoms start as early as 24 hours after the injury, but there may be a long time where the patient sees no signs or symptoms. The diagnosis of epilepsy from traumatic brain injury can be difficult in such cases.
Risk of Epilepsy
Current research is focused on finding the level of risk for developing epilepsy when compared to the time that has passed since the brain injury. A patient has a high risk of experiencing seizures immediately or shortly thereafter the injury. How long the risk lasts is unknown.
The risk of epilepsy may increase after both mild and severe brain injuries. It is difficult to say just how long the risk will last. The danger may increase with age, and there may be a higher risk for women with head injuries than men with similar wounds. Genetics complicate these questions even further. Those with a family history of epilepsy may be at a greater risk for developing the disease after a traumatic brain injury.
While antiepileptic drugs help to control seizures, they do cannot prevent future seizures entirely. There is no cure for epilepsy, so some patients must take seizure medications for the remainder of their lives.
If you or someone you know suffers from epilepsy because of a traumatic brain injury, contact our office. Our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys will provide you with a free consultation.
A financial settlement can help with your current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and even lost wages or other damages. There’s no need to suffer alone with your head injury and epilepsy. Contact our office today for your free consultation.