With each accident being different, it’s impossible to tell how someone with head injuries will recover completely. Science has advanced in this area to both test for and treat head injuries, but there is still a lot unknown. For that reason, head injuries have been a prominent feature of recent academic and medical research. Did you know that you face a higher risk of dementia when you have a history of head injuries? In and of itself, a head injury can present unique problems for you and your family as most victims have to adapt to a new way of life. Beyond that, however, now research shows that health issues outside of the TBI could also be linked to the type of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident.

It has long been known that head injuries are some of the most catastrophic injuries associated with car accidents. A new study, however, out of Finland indicates that a serious head injury especially when it occurs during middle age could increase the risk of developing dementia later in life significantly. The study looked at dementia risk among individuals who had sustained a traumatic brain injury at age 65 or younger.

The researchers identified that the risk increased for those who had had a TBI, but the worst the head injury had been, the higher the risk of dementia. For those who had moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, the diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease such as dementia was much more likely. Their rates of dementia were 3.5% compared with 1.6% of people who had a mild traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury was linked to a higher risk of developing dementia only, not other neurological conditions like ALS or Parkinson’s.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, it is estimated that more than 1.7 million people in the United States have some type of traumatic brain injury every single year. The leading causes of traumatic brain injuries include car accidents, firearm accidents, and falls. Roughly one in three of patients who suffer moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries will ultimately pass away as a result. One in two survivors will struggle to cope with lifelong injuries. If you find yourself dealing with the consequences of a traumatic brain injury after a vehicle accident, you need to take steps to protect yourself as effectively as possible.