medical IDs for traumatic brain injury

Medical IDs for Traumatic Brain Injury

The confidence to live with traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the damage caused to the brain as a result of physical trauma (like a blow, fall, or gunshot). In recent years, you may have heard about TBIs in the context of football injuries, after a study showed that the repeated TBIs experienced by football players cause long-term brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

People who have had a traumatic brain injury can have mild damage, or it can be severe, depending on the cause. TBI causes a wide array of symptoms and difficulties with everyday functioning. These symptoms may be subtle, or they may include coma and death.

The damage that causes symptoms of traumatic brain injury is not reversible, but therapies and other treatments can help people with TBI to live an active and healthy life.

Medical IDs for traumatic brain injury play an important role in providing extra safety for those living with this condition.

How MedicAlert protects those with traumatic brain injury

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s a medical emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with traumatic brain injury, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Pair a medical ID for traumatic brain injury with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What exactly is a traumatic brain injury?

In the United States, around 1.7 million people have experienced a traumatic brain injury. Among children under the age of 14, it is a serious concern, resulting in 400,000 emergency department visits and 29,000 hospitalizations every year.

Traumatic brain injury can be described in several different ways, depending on the type of physical injury that damages the brain:

  • Closed brain injury- this injury happens to the brain without penetrating the skull, such as a head injury due to a fall, car accident, or sports injury. This can also be caused by violent forward and backward movement of the brain against the inside of the skull. A common example is shaken baby syndrome.
  • Penetrating brain injury- an injury that happens to the brain when something breaks through the skull, such as a gunshot wound.
  • Primary brain injury- this describes the injury to the brain at the time of traumatic physical impact.
  • Secondary brain injury- this describes the changes that happen in the brain after a primary brain injury. Brain tissue is further damaged by these changes that happen in blood vessels, cells, tissue, and chemicals in the brain.

In addition, the severity of a TBI can vary. There are three types of TBI based on this:

  • Mild TBI- also called a concussion, these TBIs are not life-threatening, but can still cause damage to the brain. These result from a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.
  • Moderate TBI- unlike a concussion, where symptoms resolve quickly, a moderate TBI causes symptoms that do not go away, or get worse.
  • Severe TBI- these injuries can lead to death. They include injuries like gunshot wounds. Severe TBI is linked to thousands of deaths each year, and people who survive have long-term complications.

Being a MedicAlert member is very worthwhile. If you have any allergies, diabetes, or just simply take any medication - you should have a MedicAlert ID. It is the best way to go. I am very happy with my MedicAlert ID and membership plan.

Linda Smethers, MedicAlert member

What causes a traumatic brain injury?

There are many common causes of traumatic brain injury. The two most common causes are falls and car accidents. Sports, work, or recreational injuries, military trauma, gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse, and assaults all can also result in TBIs.

When a blow to the head happens, there is bruising and damage to tissues and blood vessels in the brain. The rapid forward and backward motion of the head causes the brain to first hit the inside of the front of the skull, called a “coup” injury, and then it may travel backward and hit the opposite side of the skull, called “contrecoup.”

These coup-contrecoup injuries can tear brain lining, tissues, and blood vessels in the brain. The bleeding and swelling that happens because of this leads to further damage.

What to engrave on your MedicAlert ID for traumatic brain injury:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical IDs for traumatic brain injury. The engraving on your ID should include the critical medical information that first responders need to know in an accident or emergency.

The best things to engrave on medical IDs for traumatic brain injury include:

  • Medical history (including TBI, and complications like seizures)
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Any other important information for first responders
medical IDs for traumatic brain injury

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for traumatic brain injury.

What are the symptoms and complications of traumatic brain injury?

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury are often affected by the severity of the injury. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these are some of the common symptoms:

  • Passing out
  • Dizziness
  • Prolonged unresponsiveness (coma)
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity or light or smell
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision or dilated pupils
  • In children and babies, inconsolable crying and refusal to eat, drink, or breastfeed

These symptoms may continue for months or years after the injury and can be disabling for the person who experienced a TBI. Continued complications from these symptoms can make daily tasks difficult, and prevent a person from working, going to school, driving a car, and more.

The most severe complications of TBI are coma, or a vegetative state (where the person is unaware of surroundings but moves and opens their eyes). There is also a state called minimally conscious state, which is between a coma and a vegetative state. In the most severe cases, TBI can lead to brain death.

How do you diagnose traumatic brain injury?

To diagnose traumatic brain injury, a combination of tests and physical exams are used. Often, these are conducted by a neurologist. To start the process of identifying a TBI, they may use a series of “neuro checks” which are quick questions and tasks to see how well a person with a head injury is functioning.

More in-depth tests can then be done if there are signs that a brain injury may have happened. These tests include:

  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)– using this screening tool, a doctor has a patient try to follow a series of commands to test the ability to speak, move, and open the eyes. The results are totaled, with a score indicating the severity of the TBI.
  • Imaging tests– these include CT and MRI scans, which show detailed pictures of brain structure and any damage.
  • Blood tests– new research has discovered proteins that can be seen in the blood after a TBI. Tests looking for these proteins can help identify brain injury, especially in cases where the injury does not show up well on imaging tests.
  • Measuring functional skills– tests that look at speech, social skills, cognition, breathing, swallowing, and even behavior after a TBI can give clues about the level of damage caused by the injury.

How do you treat a traumatic brain injury?

Because traumatic brain injuries cause permanent damage, treatment does not heal the injury, but it can help other parts of the brain to compensate and can improve some functions. Treatment is based on each person’s degree of injury and symptoms. More than one treatment approach may be needed. These treatment options include:

  • Surgery to treat any swelling or bleeding of the brain
  • Rest, depending on the type of TBI
  • Rehabilitation therapy, such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech therapy
  • Therapy to help people adjust to limitations and process worries about the injury
  • Returning to regular activities when possible, based on your doctor’s recommendations

Choosing the right treatment for each person involves a team of specialists, including a neurologist, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and more.

Along with recommending the best medications and therapies to treat TBI, your doctor may suggest you wear a medical ID. During a medical emergency, if first responders are aware of your TBI history they can give you the best care possible.

A MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan can ensure that in a situation where every second counts, critical details are easily shared even if you aren’t able to relay them yourself. This can include a history of TBI and other complications like seizures, information that could even save your life.

How a  medical ID  for traumatic brain injury combined with MedicAlert  Membership provides peace of mind

When someone is living with a chronic condition like traumatic brain injury, the symptoms and complications of that illness can lead to unexpected medical emergencies. Because of this, it’s often recommended that people with a chronic condition wear a medical ID.

MedicAlert has been protecting and saving lives with medical IDs for 65 years. A globally recognized symbol for medical emergencies, a MedicAlert ID can convey critical details about your medical history and care to first responders. 

  • Be your voice: If you can’t speak for yourself, your ID will speak for you, informing others about your traumatic brain injury and any medications you are taking.

  • Provide 24/7 emergency protection: Our team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders in an emergency, no matter where or when it happens.

  • Keep you connected: You should never be alone in an emergency, that’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your emergency contacts when needed if you are unable to do so.

  • Enable you to live with confidence: The freedom to live your life with traumatic brain injury, knowing that MedicAlert is there for you.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.