If you’ve suffered a head injury, you may wonder, Can a head injury cause a stroke? While strokes and head injuries are distinct medical conditions, a head injury, particularly a traumatic brain injury, can increase the risk of stroke. In fact, brain injuries can increase an individual’s risk of experiencing a stroke even if they don’t have other risk factors.
Unfortunately, stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. Approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. experience a stroke each year, and around 610,000 are first-time strokes. In this blog post, we’ll look closer at the relationship between head injuries and strokes and how different types of head injuries can impact your chances of experiencing one.
Is a Stroke a Brain Injury?
Before diving into the relationship between brain injuries and strokes, it’s essential to understand what they are and how they differ. A brain injury is any brain damage caused by trauma, oxygen deprivation, or other factors impairing normal function. It is divided into two categories: traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and acquired brain injuries (ABI). In contrast, a stroke is a medical condition that occurs when the brain’s blood flow is interrupted or blocked, leading to damage or death of brain cells. There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Blocked blood vessels cause ischemic strokes, while hemorrhagic strokes result from bleeding in the brain.
So, is a stroke a brain injury? Technically, no. A stroke isn’t caused by brain trauma and doesn’t result in the same type of brain tissue damage as a brain injury. However, depending on the severity of the stroke, it can cause similar symptoms and long-term effects, including cognitive and motor impairments. In this sense, a stroke may be considered a form of brain injury.
Can a Head Injury Cause a Stroke?
While not every head injury will lead to a stroke, a head injury does increase the risk of blood clots, a leading cause of ischemic strokes. In fact, one study found that individuals who had experienced a TBI were 86% more likely to suffer a stroke within three months of the injury than those who had not had a TBI. Multiple factors may contribute to this increased risk, for example, inflammation, blood vessel damage, disruption of the blood-brain barrier, or alterations in blood flow.
Individuals who have experienced multiple head injuries over their lifetime may also be at a higher risk of stroke than those who have not had any brain injuries. One possible reason for this increased risk is that repeated brain injuries can lead to cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the brain, which can increase the likelihood of a stroke. Additionally, multiple brain injuries may cause changes in blood flow and vessel function in the brain. It’s important to note, however, that not everyone who experiences multiple brain injuries will go on to have a stroke. And many other factors, such as age, overall health, and lifestyle factors, can also influence an individual’s stroke risk.
Stroke After a Fall
Falls are a common cause of head injuries, particularly among older adults, and are responsible for a range of brain injuries, from mild concussions to severe TBIs. They can cause direct damage to the brain or lead to other complications, such as blood clots and internal bleeding, that may ultimately result in a stroke. Studies have found that individuals with a fall-related TBI have a higher risk of stroke in the years following the injury, even if they have no other risk factors. This increased risk may be due to changes in the blood vessels and blood flow in the brain following the fall, as well as other physiological changes that can occur after a brain injury.
Stroke After a Concussion
A concussion is a mild TBI caused by a blow or jolt to the head. While concussions are generally not life-threatening, they can have long-term effects on brain function and increase the risk of stroke, particularly if left untreated. Recent research has also shown that individuals who experience a concussion are at a higher risk of stroke within the first few months following the injury. The risk may remain elevated for several years after a concussion, underscoring the importance of continued monitoring and preventative care.
Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is a critical part of the brain injury and stroke recovery process. The primary goal of rehabilitation is to help individuals regain their independence and improve their overall quality of life, as well as help reduce the risk of experiencing another stroke in the future. Depending on the type and severity of the brain injury or stroke, rehabilitation may include a range of different therapies and interventions, for example, physical therapy to improve mobility and strength, occupational therapy to regain the ability to perform daily tasks, speech therapy to address communication and swallowing difficulties, and cognitive rehabilitation to improve memory, attention, and other cognitive functions.
In addition, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity may also help reduce the risk of stroke and improve general health. Overall, by working with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized rehabilitation plan and making lifestyle changes, individuals can reduce their risk of experiencing another stroke and improve their health and well-being.
GJEL Accident Attorneys: Fresno’s Compassionate TBI Advocates
If someone else’s negligence caused your or a loved one’s brain injury, the skilled brain injury attorneys at GJEL can help you attain the compensation you need. Our experienced legal advocates have a reputation for fighting tirelessly to protect clients’ rights and will treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve. In our over 40 years of practice, we’ve recovered nearly $1 billion for injury victims while maintaining a 99% success rate. Want to focus on recovering? Let us deal with the parties that caused your injuries and losses. Call GJEL at 1-866-268-7118 for a free case review, and let us explain what we can do for you.
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