Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common medical condition that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects approximately 2.8 million Americans each year. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” The brain is a highly complex organ that controls every process involved in regulating one’s body, including one’s thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and more. Depending on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured, there are several systemic manifestations of TBI, as a traumatic brain injury has the propensity to affect anybody’s system.
Commonly Affected Body Systems
Every individual is different, and the effects caused by a TBI will be unique to each person. The most common body systems affected by TBIs include, but are not limited to the following:
- Vestibular system: as a sensory system, the vestibular system is responsible for providing the brain with information regarding motion, head position, and spatial orientation. It is also involved with motor functions that allow for maintaining balance, the stabilization of the head and body during movement, and maintaining posture.
- Endocrine system: made up of a complex network of organs and glands, the endocrine system uses hormones to coordinate and control the body’s metabolism, reproduction, energy levels, growth, and development, as well as response to injury stress and/ or mood.
- Circulatory system: the circulatory system is comprised of three independent systems (cardiovascular, pulmonary, and systemic) that work together and are responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and other gases, to and from cells. It helps the body maintain a normal body temperature and fight off disease.
- Nervous system: the nervous system is the center of all mental activity including memory, thought, and learning, as it is the major controlling, regulatory, and communicating system in the body.
The symptoms that present in connection to the disturbance a TBI may cause to any of the above body systems will be distinct and can occur individually or simultaneously. Additional research is required to scientifically and conclusively understand all the plausible effects that a TBI can have on each of the various body systems.
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