Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain that can occur when the head is injured. A closed head injury occurs when the head hits something hard, an object hits the head, or the head is shaken. A penetrating head injury occurs when the skull is damaged. Damage can be sudden or take some time to happen.
Someone with TBI can have one or more problems, depending on the injury. Problems that often occur soon after TBI include:
Adrenal Insufficiency (not enough cortisol)
When the adrenal glands don’t make enough hormones; results in fatigue, weight loss, low blood pressure, vomiting, and dehydration. Adrenal insufficiency can be life-threatening if not treated.
When the pituitary doesn't make enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH); results in frequent urination and extreme thirst.
Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH Secretion (SIADH)
When the pituitary doesn't make enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH); results in frequent urination and extreme thirst. Too much ADH can upset the balance of salt and water in the body; can result in headache, fatigue, vomiting, confusion, and convulsions.
Problems that may occur later and their symptoms include:
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. Blood tests are done to check your hormone levels. You may have an MRI to look at the pituitary gland.
Often, you will take hormones to replace what's missing (called hormone therapy). Other problems require various treatments, depending on how severe the injury is.
The outlook depends on the type of problem and how severe it is. Some endocrine problems may be temporary and disappear within a year after TBI. Hormone therapy is a very important part of treatment. It can restore your health, relieve symptoms, and improve your quality of life. In some cases, it can save your life.
The Hormone Health Network is the public education affiliate of the Endocrine Society dedicated to helping both patients and doctors find information on the prevention, treatment and cure of hormone-related conditions.
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