Can head trauma cause a stroke

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Twenty percent of  patients with stroke are under age 65. The cause of many of those strokes remains a mystery. The researchers found that people under the age of 50 were more likely to have a stroke after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) than people were over 50.  Having had a concussion or other traumatic brain injury might make the risk of a stroke more likely, a study says.

What is a brain injury?

A brain injury is caused by a blow or other traumatic injury to the head or body. The degree of damage can depend on several factors, including the nature of the event and the force of impact.

Common events causing traumatic brain injury include the followings:

  • Falls: Falling out of bed, slipping in the bath, falling down steps, falling from ladders and related falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury overall, particularly in older adults and young children.
  • Vehicle-related collisions: Collisions involving cars, motorcycles or bicycles — and pedestrians involved in such accidents — are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.
  • Violence: About 20 percent of traumatic brain injuries are caused by violence, such as gunshot wounds, domestic violence or child abuse. Shaken baby syndrome is traumatic brain injury caused by the violent shaking of an infant that damages brain cells.
  • Sports injuries: Traumatic brain injuries may be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports, particularly in youth.
  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries: Explosive blasts are a common cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Although the mechanism of damage is not yet well-understood, many researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function.

How head trauma leads to a stroke?

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. When ahead trauma happens, the chance of this happens is high. Moreover, a head trauma can damage the brain cells and cause bleeding or blood clots in the brain. These bleeding and blood clots can disrupt the oxygen supply to the brain and cause wider damage.

A research has been conducted in 2001 to examine the link between head trauma and stroke. They examined the records of 23,199 patients who received a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury between 2001 and 2003 and compared them to 69,597 people who did not have a traumatic brain injury. Each person was then followed for five years to identify whether they had a stroke.

Results showed that 2.91% of patients with traumatic brain injury had a stroke compared with 0.30% of those who didn’t have a traumatic brain injury. In which, a person who had a traumatic brain injury in which the skull bone was fractured was more at risk for a stroke than a person who had the injury but the skull bone remained intact.

Research also showed that those who had a head trauma has about a 4.6 times higher risk of stroke compared to those who don’t. However, they noted several possibilities, including the idea that a traumatic brain injury may damage the blood vessels in the brain, disturbing the blood supply to the brain and leading to a stroke.

If you have had a concussion or other brain injury, do not be afraid. You should reduce stroke risk by maintaining a healthful blood pressure, and be aware of stroke warning signs since immediate treatment of ischemic stroke with a clot-busting drug greatly reduces the risk of disability and death.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
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