Anyone can experience a traumatic brain injury at any age from incidents such as falls or motor vehicle accidents. A TBI can range in severity, but because of the crucial role that the brain plays in the functioning of the rest of the body, any injury to it should receive prompt medical attention.
While TBIs can affect all ages, there are certain age groups that are at higher risk for poor long-term outcomes from a brain injury.
The brain is still developing as a child matures. An injury to the brain, regardless of severity, has the potential to disrupt that development. As a result, the effects of the injury could follow a child throughout the rest of his or her life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children also visit emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries at a higher rate than any other age group.
Compared to all other age groups, senior citizens are most likely to die from a TBI, usually after hospitalization for the injury. Part of the reason that elderly people are more likely to have a bad outcome from a TBI is that it is easier to mistake the symptoms of brain trauma for those of other conditions related to old age.
Older adults are also more likely to have risk factors for complications of a TBI. For example, people with certain cardiovascular complaints may take anticoagulant medications, which increases the risk of uncontrolled bleeding in the brain.
Anyone who experiences a TBI should receive prompt medical attention, but doctors should be proactive in trying to avoid complications for patients in age groups that are more vulnerable.