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Over 135 Years of Combined Experience In Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Will the U.S. be able to handle TBI among elderly in 2030?

Sometimes, getting older means being more vulnerable to brain injury. As we age, atrophy in the brain and the brain’s blood vessels can increase the chances of bleeding in the event of head trauma. People who take blood thinners, or have a history of alcohol abuse, are often particularly in danger of bleeding on the brain.

This condition is also known as subdural hemorrhage or subdural hematoma. Left untreated, blood can accumulate, affecting the victim’s cognitive ability.

The populations of many countries, including the U.S. and Japan, are aging rapidly, as people live longer and have fewer children. These countries could have to deal with a growing epidemic of subdural hemorrhages, or SDHs, in coming decades. Will medical care be ready to step up to help prevent serious damage?

A recent study sought to answer this important question. Researchers looked at data from the U.S. Veterans Administration, as well as from civilian hospitals in Japan and Finland.

They found that VA hospitals treated 695 SDHs from 2000-2012, and doctors had to perform a craniotomy in 29 percent of cases. That is a surgical procedure to treat SDH. The vast majority, more than 70 percent, of SDH patients in those years were 65 or older.

The researchers predicted that by 2030, a quarter of the U.S. population will be older than 65. Extrapolating from there, the study predicts that chronic SDH will affect 17.6 patients per 100,000 people -- and 121.4 veterans per 100,000.

The country will need more neurosurgeons and rehabilitation workers to deal with this, unless more cases can be prevented, the study concludes.

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