Learn how to prevent brain injuries during Alzheimer’s and Brain Injury Awareness Month

ROANOKE, Va. – June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and LewisGale Regional Health System said they see at least several hundred people a year who suffer from brain injuries in Southwest Virginia each year.

Brain injuries result when someone is hit to the head, which affects how someone thinks, acts or feels.

Doctors with LewisGale said more than a million people a year in the U.S. are estimated to sustain brain injuries. Meanwhile, there are 60 to 100,000 deaths with millions in the U.S. currently living with some form of disability related to them.

Neurosurgeon Nicholas Marko with LewisGale Regional Health System said brain injuries are more common in two groups of people. Marko said elderly people, who are in their late 60 years or older, typically suffer from brain injuries due to falls. However, Marko said younger people also suffer from them, especially people who are 25 years or younger.

“In young people, it’s often related to various types of activity-related trauma, [which can be] anything from motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, injuries that result from doing competition activities,” said Marko.

Some of the symptoms of brain injuries include headaches, blurry vision and memory loss.

Marko said to prevent these injuries, you need to be careful. For elderly people, he said fall prevention is key.

“That can be anything from, you know, using a cane or a walker, if you’re a little bit unsteady on your feet. Looking around the house or even having the house professionally assessed by people who do that to see if there are tripping risks or slip and fall risks and trying to mitigate those. Things like loose carpeting or slippery floors, steep stairways,” said Marko.

He has some advice for younger people too.

“The riskier the activity the more likely something is to happen. So, preventive strategies range from simple things like being careful and being cautious. Don’t dive into shallow water, for instance. Wearing protective equipment. If you’re playing sports, particularly contact sports, make sure you’re wearing a helmet or wear a helmet when you’re riding a bicycle or going skiing,” said Marko.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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