Causes of adults brain injuries

Emobileclinic Trending Topic: Anoxic Brain Injury

 

Adequate oxygen is vital for the brain. Many factors can cause the brain to receive inadequate oxygen. When oxygen levels are significantly low for four minutes or longer, brain cells begin to die and after five minutes permanent anoxic brain injury can occur. Anoxic brain injury which is also called cerebral hypoxia or hypoxic-anoxic injury (HAI) is a serious, life-threatening injury; it can cause cognitive problems and disabilities. Some HAI injuries are due to a partial lack of oxygen; the term hypoxic means partial lack. 

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The death of brain cells interrupts the brain’s electrochemical impulses and interferes with the performance of neurotransmitters—the chemical messengers which transmit messages within the brain. The neurotransmitters regulate body functions and influence behavior. 

Types of Anoxic Brain Injury

There are four types of anoxia, but each can cause the same serious damage to the brain.

1. Anemic anoxia. This form of anoxia results from blood that cannot carry sufficient oxygen to the brain. Some forms of lung disease can lead to insufficiently oxygenated blood, since the lungs are not processing oxygen sufficiently. While the blood flow to the brain is still adequate, the brain will not receive enough oxygen to perform vital functions. This can lead to slow deterioration of the patient’s overall condition. Chronic anemia, acute hemorrhage, and carbon monoxide poisoning can cause anemic anoxia.

2. Toxic anoxia. This form of anoxia is caused by toxins in the system that prevent the blood’s oxygen from being used efficiently. For example, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause toxic anoxia.

3. Stagnant anoxia. This condition is also called hypoxicischemic injury (HII). In HII, an internal condition blocks sufficient oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain. Strokes, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest can cause HII.

4. Anoxic anoxia. This condition is caused when there is not enough oxygen in the air for the body to benefit with it. It can occur at high altitudes.

Common Causes of Anoxia

Respiratory arrest

Electrical shock

Drowning

Heart attack and arrhythmia

Brain tumors

Extreme low blood pressure

Carbon monoxide inhalation

Poisoning

Choking

Compression of the trachea

Suffocation

Illegal drug use

Symptoms of Anoxic Brain Injury

Loss of consciousness or a coma, although this is not always the case.

 Short-term memory loss.

Poorer performance in executive functions which include judgment making, reasoning, and processing information.

 Anomia. This term means having difficulty using words or processing what words mean.

Visual disturbances. 

Lack of coordination. 

Movement disorders.

 Quadriparesis. 

Headaches, confusion, depression, hallucinations, delusions

Personality changes (such as increased irritability), and the inability to concentrate.

Diagnosing Anoxic Brain Damage

Loss of consciousness is a serious medical emergency; call an ambulance if you are with someone who has lost consciousness.  Diagnostic tests for anoxic brain damage include:

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)—considered the gold standard for diagnostic tests; an MRI produces detailed cross-sections of the brain by using radio waves and magnets. The images are shown on a computer screen.

CT or CAT scan (computerized axial tomography) — which uses x-rays and the computer to show detailed images of brain’s interior.

EEG (electroencephalogram)—Electrodes are placed on the head to measure the brain’s electrical activity.

Blood tests, especially tests for arterial blood gases, since these determine the level of oxygen in the blood.

Treatment of Anoxic Brain Injury

Treatment depends on the type or cause, for instance, if lack of oxygen is due to a stroke, the first priority will be to treat the patient for stroke. If the problem is due to heart arrhythmia, steps will be taken to regulate and stabilize the heart’s rhythm.

Restoration of oxygen

Steroids may be given in an attempt to reduce brain swelling

The rehabilitation phase may include: Speech therapy, Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, Recreational therapy

Counseling 

Love and emotional support is vital for the patient during this time. 

Preventing Anoxic Brain Damage

The best way to avoid the long-term effects of an anoxic Brain Injury is to avoid injury altogether. In the event of accident, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of anoxic brain damage to yourself and your loved ones:

Infants under the age of three are not exposed to choking hazards.

Chew your food slowly and carefully.

Engage in swimming activity

Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Stay away from high-voltage electrical sources.

Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Do not take illegal drugs, or abuse prescription drugs.

Maintain your heart’s health by exercising regularly, eating right, and getting regular check-ups. 

Monitor your blood pressure.



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