Long-Term Concussion Effects: 6 Post-Concussion Symptoms
A concussion results from a sudden jolt or blow to the head that causes your brain to move back and forth against the inside of your skull. It is considered a traumatic brain injury and can temporarily impact your brain function leading to serious long-term concussion effects.
Many people associate concussions with athletes. But anyone can get one. You can hit your head in a minor car accident or from a seemingly innocuous fall or bump to the head. Concussions can also happen when the upper body is shaken violently, as in the case of whiplash.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates almost three million people in the United States suffer a concussion each year. On average, 150 Americans die from a traumatic brain injury each day!
Anytime you have a hard blow to the head, you should immediately seek medical care to rule out a possible concussion. However, many people wave it off as nothing, only to suffer from the aftereffects of a concussion hours or days later, or worse, experience long-term effects.
If you do suffer a head injury, here are some of the initial symptoms signaling that you need medical help.
- Headache that persists or worsens over time
- Drowsiness or difficulty staying awake
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
- Slurred speech
- Unsteadiness on your feet
- Blurred vision
- Blood or clear liquid coming from the ears or nose
- Confusion or irritability
6 Long-Term Concussion Effects
Sometimes people can have long-term concussion effects — also known as post-concussion syndrome. This is when symptoms persist for more than three weeks and develop into more concerning medical issues. These long-term effects include:
Memory Loss – The brain damage caused by concussions can lead to permanent or temporary loss of memory.
Personality Changes – Head trauma can lead to behavior and mood changes years after the injury. These changes can include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of impulse control
- Problems planning or multi-tasking
Parkinson’s Disease – This is a brain disorder that can cause tremors and stiffness in the arms and legs. A concussion can increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s by 50 percent.
Alzheimer’s Disease – A progressive brain disorder, Alzheimer’s results in memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Sleep Disturbances – Brain trauma can impact the neurons that control the sleep/wake function and the body’s circadian rhythm.
Smell and Taste Issues – A quarter of people who have suffered a concussion report the loss of taste and/or smell. A concussion can also cause a bad taste in the mouth.
Most people won’t experience long-term concussion effects, but your chance of developing them does increase if you have had a traumatic brain injury before.
Where to Get Help
As you can see, it is best to get checked out sooner than later when it comes to a head injury. As long as you did not lose consciousness as a result of your head injury, which would require a trip to the emergency room, the staff at American Family Care can help. Our medical team will perform diagnostic tests to determine the severity of the injury and provide detailed instructions on how to rest your brain safely. You don’t need an appointment, and we offer extended hours during the week and on weekends. Click here to find an American Family location near you.