ATLANTA, March 12 (UPI) -- Traumatic brain injury -- a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating injury -- contributes to U.S. deaths and permanent disability, officials say.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said about 3.5 million people have a TBI in the United States and:
-- 2.1 million received care in emergency departments.
-- 300,000 were hospitalized.
-- 84,000 were seen in outpatient departments.
-- 1.1 million received care from office-based physicians.
-- 53,000 died.
Previously referred to as the "Silent Epidemic," individuals with a TBI might not have any visible scars, and symptoms might not show up or be noticed until hours or days later, but it can cause short or long-term problems seriously affecting thinking, learning, memory and/or emotions.
A TBI can affect all aspects of an individual's life, as well as that of their loved ones. It affects the injured's ability to work, be employed, do household tasks, or drive a car.
Ways to reduce the risk of a TBI include:
-- Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
-- Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
-- Avoiding distracting activities while driving such as using a cellphone, texting and eating.
-- Wearing a helmet and making sure children wear helmets while riding a bike.