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What is edema and how is it dangerous?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Sustaining a blow to the head due to a car crash or workplace accident may result in a traumatic brain injury. This is a serious condition that sometimes has life-altering or even dangerous results.

A TBI inflicts damage to the brain due to a blow, jolt, or penetrating injury. This can inflame the brain tissue, provoking an increase in pressure within the skull. Edema in the brain is often the result of this inflammation.

The dangers of edema

A brain edema can endanger your life because the skull has limited space compared to other body parts. When the brain swells, it can press against the skull, causing additional damage and potentially reducing blood flow. A diminished blood supply means less oxygen reaches the brain, possibly creating further injury and permanent damage. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

Symptoms of edema generally include painful headaches, dizziness, altered consciousness, nausea and even seizures. These signs might not appear immediately after the injury, but they can still develop over time.

The need for medical care

In the face of a TBI, timely medical attention is non-negotiable. If brain edema develops, healthcare professionals can use various methods to manage it, such as medications to reduce inflammation, diuretics to eliminate excess fluid, or surgical procedures to relieve pressure.

Estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that in 2020, 64,000 people died due to TBI-related conditions. A failure to seek a prompt medical examination and diagnosis shortly after a head injury could result in a worst-case outcome.