According to a large long-term study, a head injury can increase the risk of suffering from various serious diseases in the years that follow. The risk of high blood pressure and diabetes doubled, and the risk of dementia was even four times higher. The risk of suffering a stroke also increased significantly, Boston researchers report in the journal 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 older who had suffered mild, moderate or severe head trauma and followed them for ten years. For comparison, people who did not have a head injury and who matched the patients in terms of age, sex and other health characteristics were used. A total of 4351 people participated in the study.
According to the scientists, the reasons for the observed relationships are very complex: changes in behavioral habits could play a role, such as less exercise, poor diet, sleep disturbances, regular use of painkillers or increased consumption. of alcohol. Influences of inflammatory and immunological processes on a changed intestinal flora, for example after a hospital stay or by medication, are also conceivable.
The study provides signals that should be taken seriously, according to Prof. Dr. Peter Berlit, Secretary General of the German Neurological Society. “People with traumatic brain injury should be aware of these risks and consistently follow a healthy lifestyle to reduce their personal risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. They should also be reviewed by their family doctor every two years in order to identify and treat diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes at an early stage,” says Berlit.
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