Can a Single Concussion Lead to Lasting Brain Damage?

Can a Single Concussion Lead to Lasting Brain Damage?

It’s crucial for patients who have had a concussion to have an evaluation as soon as possible. Concussions are a common injury in car accidents, and all too often, the symptoms are delayed. You may not realize the extent of your injury initially, so that’s why it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

As a car accident specialist at Tulsa Accident Care Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, our team, led by Robert Mitchell, MD, can’t stress enough the importance of getting appropriate care immediately following an auto accident.

Concussions are a traumatic brain injury, and a single concussion can cause long-term changes to the brain. 

Concussion basics

A concussion occurs when there’s a blow or sudden jolt to the head. You may experience symptoms right away, such as a brief loss of consciousness. However, because of the rush of adrenaline that can occur after a car accident, you may not notice symptoms right away. Instead, symptoms may emerge days later. 

After suffering a concussion, many people experience short-term effects, such as headache. Other short-term effects of a concussion can include the following:

Single concussions rarely cause long-term symptoms. With most people, their symptoms resolve within a few weeks, and they recover fully. But, if you get a concussion, the best thing to do is get examined, so if you do need treatment, you can get the help you need right away.

Long-term effects of a concussion

As noted, most people fully recover. However, some people can experience post-concussion syndrome, where symptoms persist for longer than six weeks.

Though more research is needed, one study showed that patients with a single concussion had long-term structural damage to the brain. By imaging their brains one year after their concussions, results showed there was a decrease in gray and white matter (brain atrophy). 

Researchers believe the blow responsible for a concussion can damage the brain's structural integrity or disrupt the nerves' messaging system, leading to post-concussion symptoms. In addition to the symptoms listed earlier, some patients can deal with ongoing symptoms of anxiety, memory problems, and attention issues.

Older adults are at an increased risk of developing persistent post-concussive symptoms. If you experience symptoms like depression and memory problems that linger long after your concussion, it’s crucial to see a doctor.

Get the help you need

Concussions can affect people in different ways. If you’ve had a concussion, our team will work to identify any effects of your concussion and develop a treatment plan.

If you’ve sustained a concussion or another injury in a car accident, call 918-372-3694 or book an appointment online with Tulsa Accident Care Center today.

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