Updated on: 11/13/2019
Being that an estimated 20 percent of strokes affect people under the age of 65, researchers have spent several years researching different types of head injuries and trying to determine exactly what it is – aside from old age – that increases a person’s chances of suffering a stroke.
In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and VA Center for Clinical Management and Research, it was discovered that traumatic brain injuries and other forms of head injuries can be directly linked to an increased overall risk of stroke.
Researchers Find Link Between Stroke, TBIs
The researchers involved in the latest study were inspired by a 2011 analysis by researchers in Taiwan who had discovered a potential association between varying types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and stroke by reviewing hospital records of patients who were admitted for a stroke. As it turns out, a significant fraction of those patients admitted for a stroke had suffered head injuries of some form in the past.
According to the results of the study, more than 436,000 people who were admitted to emergency rooms in California with traumatic brain injuries between 2005 and 2009. Researchers contend that those patients were 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke afterwards in comparison with people who had not suffered head injuries in the past.
The data could be slightly misconstrued, according to a summarized report from the research team involved in the study. Because the actual risk of stroke for a person under the age of 50 is already so low, increasing that risk by 30 percent may not be as large of an increase as it seems.
Don’t Underestimate Head Injuries
However, the complex nature of the human brain makes it that much more important to take any increased risk of brain injury or stroke seriously. And because head injuries often carry an inherent risk of further complications down the road, experts say that one of the worst things a person can do is underestimate the severity of head injuries.
“Head injuries often have minor or no symptoms at all,” says Chris Davis, a founder of Seattle personal injury law firm Davis Law Group. “The problem with that is that someone who has suffered a head injury is in a very delicate state and may not even be aware of the potential for second impact syndrome or another type of condition that can have life-changing implications.”
Second impact syndrome (SIS) is a condition that occurs when a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury experiences another head injury before the initial one has healed. Even people who have only suffered a small concussion or other form of minor head injuries are at risk of SIS and would be best served by consulting with a medical professional.