In some traumatic brain injury cases, you may not feel the true impact of your injury until years later. For instance, some head injuries may increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease of other forms of dementia later in life. While there is little to no evidence connecting a single, mild head injury with increased risk, a severe or even moderate injury can greatly affect your chances of developing dementia.
“The increase in future dementia risk seems to occur after a severe head injury that knocks you out for more than 24 hours,” writes Dr. Glenn Smith of the Mayo Clinic in an article on mayoclinic.org. “A moderately serious head injury that causes unconsciousness for more than 30 minutes, but less than 24 hours, also seems to increase risk to a smaller extent.”
More precisely, the Alzheimer’s Association states on its website that “older adults with a history of moderate traumatic brain injury had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s than seniors with no history of head injury,” and that those with a history of severe TBI were at 4.5 times greater risk.
But it is not only people who have suffered severe and moderate brain injuries that are at increased risk of developing dementia. Evidence has emerged suggesting that those who have suffered repeated traumatic brain injury – such as concussions – without losing consciousness are at risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Full-contact professional sports leagues like the NHL and NFL have encountered this issue first hand.
Whatever the cause, dementia is a frightening affliction, and caring for your loved ones who are suffering from dementia is never easy. Ken Wong, a former client of Neinstein Medical Malpractice Lawyers, has been a full-time caregiver for his wife, who was diagnosed with dementia in her 40s, since 2008. He recently participated in a video series assembled by the federal government where he discussed some of the challenges he faces day-to-day.
“Caregiving is a complex role full of human drama and emotions,” Ken says. “Sometimes you experience joy, loneliness, sadness, you feel frustration, you feel that you’ve failed, you feel guilty, you feel grief.”
Watch the full video here: http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/sb/caregivers/federal/dementia_videos/index.shtml#h2.3
If a member of your family is suffering from dementia, your support and care can make a real impact on their lives. The Family Caregiver Alliance has some excellent resources available on their website which can help you cope with your loved one’s condition while maintaining a meaningful relationship. You can view a full list of tips here, including strategies for communicating with people with dementia and handling troubling behaviour.
If you or a member of your family has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you should immediately contact the personal injury lawyers at Neinstein Medical Malpractice Lawyers. They can help you understand your situation and advise you on the possibility of a claim.