Guest health column: Can a car wreck affect my heart?

Aug. 11, 2011 at 3:11 a.m.

BY Dr. Tim Holcomb, Chiropractic NeurologistEach year, thousands upon thousands of people die or suffer from serious injuries to the brain, or spine.

The physical effects of car accidents are nothing compared to the emotional suffering and financial burdens carried by the victim and the victim's loved ones.

It could be great if a form of compensation could be awarded to every victim, but where settlements are an impossibility or at a minimum, the only recourse is for the patient and the patient's family to suffer.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is stressful in many ways. The frustration of having to deal with insurance, job and financial issues can be emotionally draining.

As a result, some end up neglecting their body's wellbeing. They don't even notice other symptoms that start to occur after the accident.

The most serious aftermath of car crashes are brain injuries. Most people would never even consider that this could happen in a car accident.

The brain is a vital organ and is actually the center of sensory perception, personality, breathing management, muscular control and heartbeat regulation.

When there is a brain injury, it could lead to serious conditions such as impaired motor skills and cognitive function, memory loss, speech defects, irregular heartbeats (also known as heart arrhythmia or cardiac dysrhythmias) and, if left untreated, heart failure.

Irregular heartbeats wasn't commonly considered a result of vehicular accidents in the past, yet a growing number of complaints, over the years, have started to emerge.

The most common symptoms of arrhythmia include dizziness, fainting, palpitations, anxiety and erratic breathing, just to name a few.

The victim could eventually suffer from cardiac failure of which the survival rate is alarmingly low. Most of the time, irregular heartbeats are just slightly bothersome and this is why most car accident victims don't even set up an appointment with a doctor.

Suffering from irregular heartbeats may not be like physical deformities, speech defects or impaired motor skills, yet it isn't less frightening. Anything that deviates from what's normal should immediately be brought to a doctor's attention.

Actual recovery from head injuries and the resulting cases such as irregular heartbeats can take a very long time.

Therefore, to allow for a full recovery, it's vital that you connect with your loved ones during such difficult moments or if you're one of the family members of a car crash victim, be prepared to give emotional as well as financial support to your loved one.

If you have any questions or if you would like more information, contact Dr. Tim Holcomb at or call his office at 361-485-0449.



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