What are the symptoms of a head injury?
The symptoms of head injury can vary from almost none to loss of consciousness and coma. As well, the symptoms may not necessarily occur immediately at the time of injury. While a brain injury occurs at the time of trauma, it may take time for enough swelling or bleeding to occur to cause symptoms that are recognizable.
Initial symptoms may include a change in mental status, meaning an alteration in the wakefulness of the patient. There may be loss of consciousness, lethargy, and confusion.
Head injury symptoms may also include:
- difficulty tolerating bright lights,
- leaking cerebrospinal fluide from the ear or nose,
- bleeding from the ear,
- speech difficulty,
- difficulty swallowing, and
- numbness of the body.
Other symptoms may be more subtle and include:
- difficulty concentrating and thinking, and
Late signs of significant head injury and raised pressure within the brain and skull include a dilated pupil, high blood pressure, low pulse rate, and abnormal breathing pattern.
Coma may be present if the patient doesn't awaken completely and is defined as a prolonged episode of loss of consciousness. There are different levels of coma and the Glasgow Coma Scale is one way of measuring its depth.