According to an extensive long-term study, traumatic brain injury may increase the risk of suffering from various serious diseases in the coming years. The risk of high blood pressure and diabetes doubled and the risk of dementia was even four times higher. The risk of stroke has also increased significantly, Boston researchers said in the Jama Network Open. Patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury also had an increased risk of premature death over the next ten years.
For the study, they looked at patients aged 18 and over who had suffered mild, moderate or severe head injuries and followed them for ten years. For comparison, individuals who had no traumatic brain injury and who responded to patients in terms of age, gender, and other health characteristics were used. A total of 4351 people participated in the study.
According to the researchers, the reasons for the observed relationships are very complex: Changed behaviors such as less exercise, unhealthy diets, sleep disorders, regular use of painkillers or increased alcohol consumption could play a role. The effects of inflammatory and immunological processes on the altered intestinal flora, for example after a hospital stay or with medication, are also conceivable.
The study provides signals that should be taken seriously, according to prof. Dr. Peter Berlit, General Secretary of the German Neurological Society. “People with craniocerebral trauma should be aware of these risks and adhere to a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce their personal risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. They should also be examined every two years by their family doctor to identify and treat diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes at an early stage, ”says Berlit.