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What Are the Symptoms of an Undiagnosed Concussion?

Football is often connected to concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), however, people aged 75 years and older have the highest number and rates of TBI-related hospitalizations.

Overall, there are more than 611 TBI-related hospitalizations and 176 deaths per day in the United States. The estimates don't include head injuries treated through primary care, urgent care, or those that go untreated.

An undiagnosed concussion is a dangerous one. Keep reading to learn more about concussions, undiagnosed concussion symptoms, and what happens if a TBI goes untreated.

Undiagnosed Concussion: The Problem

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can have health consequences not everyone is aware of. Head injuries, in general, can cause psychiatric disorders such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Memory issues
  • Alzheimer's disease

To prevent these disorders from occurring, it's important to know undiagnosed concussion symptoms to figure out if you have suffered a concussion or TBI.

Undiagnosed Concussion Symptoms

Most people aren't aware that they have a brain injury because symptoms can take weeks or months to develop. Symptoms range from mild to moderate and include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty paying attention and concentration
  • Difficulty with word-finding
  • Mental fatigue
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Moodiness

These mental symptoms are common, but physical symptoms can occur too and might include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Physical fatigue
  • Social isolation
  • Vision problems
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea

It's important for anyone experiencing these symptoms to get medical care. Physicians should know the right questions to ask patients because a patient might forget or dismiss an incident as inconsequential.

Diagnosis Difficulties

Assessing the brain's condition after an injury is challenging. It is especially difficult for providers to understand future complications that a patient might suffer.

Most medical personnel look into the short-term effects a patient might be experiencing and the overall well-being of the patient.

After the patient has supposedly recovered, medical complications might still occur.

Not all concussions fall into the same classification. The three different types of brain injuries range from mild, to moderate, to severe.

The classification will depend on the patient's damage and the symptoms that they are experiencing. A concussion may be misdiagnosed for something less severe.

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How to Recover From a Brain Injury

Concussion treatment ranges depending on the severity of the injury. A medical provider might give you a list of things to do or avoid after learning about concussion signs.

There are common ways to recover from a brain injury that include changing your lifestyle a bit. For example, exercising more often can boost brain blood flow, eating right will help you to think, and sleeping for at least 7-8 hours is key.

Of course, you'll also want to protect the brain from any more damage. Keep your brain health at the forefront of daily activities to reap long-term results.

After a concussion, you'll likely make use of resting time and avoid loud or bright environments.

How Does an Untreated Concussion Affect Someone's Life?

If a person chooses to forego concussion treatment after experiencing symptoms, the injury might be life-changing. Long-term problems can affect multiple aspects of life.

One of the first symptoms someone with a concussion may suffer from is depression. During the recovery process, it's common for a patient to become frustrated and deal with irritability and mood changes.

It's difficult to know TBI symptoms in the beginning. Many symptoms associated with the injury can be misdiagnosed for other symptoms.

Someone with an undiagnosed and untreated concussion can struggle with daily living in these ways:

Work Performance

Brain injuries can impair attention, coordination, and focus. All impairments can negatively affect job performance.

Someone with an untreated concussion might consistently be absent from work and have a decrease in productivity.

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Academics

Younger patients might fall victim to a concussion while playing sports or simply horsing around. If they are enrolled in school, they will find reading, concentrating, retaining information, and taking tests difficult.

A medical provider might recommend for a concussion or TBI patient to miss weeks and sometimes months of study. Doing so will allow the brain to heal without added strain.

Sports and Athletic Performance

Someone might note a difference in their athletic performance immediately after a brain injury or weeks or months later. A concussion can cause severe physical symptoms like vertigo, dizziness, and heart rate irregularities.

Experiencing these symptoms requires a break from participating in sports and other hobbies no matter the age of the patient.

Socialization

Dealing with emotional and psychological symptoms from an undiagnosed concussion can make it hard to interact with anyone. Fatigue, confusion, and brain fog will make it harder to attend events.

Create an Account With Sallie®

Power of Patients' Sallie® was designed to help patients dealing with traumatic brain injury symptoms and providers caring for them.

If you have a concussion or severe TBI, the symptoms can be overwhelming and affect daily life if left untreated. Sallie® can help track TBI symptoms through an easy-to-use dashboard.

Even if you are unsure whether or not you have sustained a TBI or concussion, it is a great idea to still track how you are feeling, using Sallie®. Monitoring any symptom progression can help lead to the correct diagnosis.

With care from your medical provider and the use of Sallie®, you'll benefit from a better recovery of a concussion or TBI. Start your journey to recovery now, by registering for Sallie® here.

 

References:

“TBI Data.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/data/index.html.

 

“Lasting Effects of Untreated Concussion (and Surprising Concussion Symptoms).” Lasting Effects of Untreated Concussion (and Surprising Concussion Symptoms): Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care: Interventional Spine & Pain Specialists, https://www.tarponpa.com/blog/lasting-effects-of-untreated-concussion-and-surprising-concussion-symptoms.

 

“Is Your Child Being Exposed to Potential Brain Injuries?” Amen Clinics Is Your Child Being Exposed To Potential Brain Injuries Comments, https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/sports-related-brain-injury-statistics-risks-and-how-to-recover/.

 

Smith, Stephen. “Untreated Concussion and TBI.” Brain Injury Law Center, 24 Sept. 2020, https://www.brain-injury-law-center.com/blog/what-happens-when-tbi-goes-untreated/.