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What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

Through greater medical research and awareness, the diagnosis of a concussion has become more commonplace over the past few years. Where 20 years ago a person who had suffered a concussion might be told to "walk it off," now the general medical community treats concussions with greater care and a serious tone. Concussions are classified as brain injuries and are no longer dismissed as something that will clear up on its own.

As a person who has possibly suffered a concussion it is important for your doctor to identify the symptoms so they can make an accurate diagnosis and then proceed to properly treat the condition. Concussions can last for a few days or sometimes they can take years to overcome.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has divided the traditional symptoms of a concussion into 4 categories:

  • Thinking/Remembering
  • Physical
  • Emotional/Mood
  • Sleep

Within each of these categories a person can experience different indicators that they may have suffered a concussion. Things like feeling dizzy, having trouble remembering, vomiting, irritability and unusual sleeping habits can all be signs that a person has received a concussion.

These conditions are fairly common and can occur without having suffered a concussion so the importance of advising your health care professional about these symptoms should alert them to the possibility of a concussion and they can conduct further tests to confirm or rule it out.

The brain is a sensitive organ and its importance to a person's quality of life cannot be overstated. Ensuring that a doctor properly identifies when a concussion has occurred is the first step in beginning treatment and working towards a full recovery as soon as possible.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Injury Prevention & Control: Traumatic Brain Injury," Accessed Oct. 26, 2014

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