Each year approximately 1.7 million people experience a TBI. These injuries include a wide range of consequences from brief changes in mental status to more enduring and severe injuries with long ranging consequences. In individuals who have moderate to severe brain injuries we are becoming more aware of the long-term health problems they may experience. As the population of people living with the effects of a brain injury grows, there is an increasing concern about the relationship between TBI and stroke. Does brain injury increase the likelihood of a person having a stroke?
Dr. James Burke of the University of Michigan recently published the results of a large study dealing with this topic involving over a million adults over a five year period. His study found that people with a TBI were 30% more likely to develop a stroke than those with trauma with no brain injury. So, how does TBI increase the risk of stroke? is the increased risk a factor of physiological changes to the brain? increased stress? the loosening of atherosclerotic plaques? the compound effects of health disparities over the course of time?
At this point there is no clarity as to the causative factors. But, Dr. Burke’s research points to an increased risk which begs the question: what can we do to improve the general health of people living with TBI. Click here to read a bulletin about the risks.