Lifetime frequently raises awareness of public health and safety issues in their programming. During the month of October, they usually infuse breast cancer-related story lines into their programming, from inspiring and thought-provoking feature-length films to their original television series.
On their extremely popular show Army Wives, Colonel Joan Burton begins experiencing sleep disturbances, mood swings, headaches and has trouble remembering simple tasks after arriving home from being deployed overseas. After going to the doctor to see what is wrong with her, she is diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Lifetime has recently partnered with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to raise awareness of TBI.
TBI affects an estimated 1.7 million people annually in the United States in the form of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths. It is caused by a bump, jolt or blow to the head that disturbs the normal function of the brain. According to a recent CDC report, nearly one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States involve TBI and it also causes permanent disability for many American people.
TBI affects many people in many different situations. It can affect virtually anyone, but is said to fall in older adults and children and can be caused by motor vehicle crashes, concussions in high school and youth sports and assault on children and older adults.
Early diagnosis of TBI can save lives, so it’s best to know the signs and symptoms, which can range from mild to severe and include:
- Thinking/remembering — feeling mentally “foggy” or having difficulty remembering recent events.
- Physical — headaches, or difficulty with bright lights or loud noises
- Emotional/mood — irritability, sadness, or nervousness
- Sleep disturbances — sleeping more or less than usual
The Centers for Disease Control has more on TBI Prevention.
It is quite fitting for Army Wives to tackle the very important health issue of TBI, since it does affect many US soldiers. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense reported that seven out of ten TBI cases resulting from a blast during combat. The U.S. Army reports that 88% of TBIs among soldiers are mild (mTBI) but it can develop into something far more serious and it can be equally life-altering and devastating for the caregivers and loved ones of those affected by it.
If you are a family member or caregiver of someone who is affected by TBI, visit traumaticbraininjuryatoz.org/. You can also learn more about the efforts to ensure that military service members and veterans with TBI receive the best evaluation, treatment and follow-up by visiting the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.