Riding your bike is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint on your commute, get exercise, or enjoy a different way of getting around Bakersfield, CA. The city has nice weather year-round, so seeing cyclists on the roads isn’t uncommon.
If you ride your bike, whether it’s your preferred way of getting around or your favorite fitness hobby, you may know that getting into a collision with a car can leave you with serious injuries.
Internal injuries are one of the most common types of injury from a bike accident. Many cyclists who receive a blow to the torso may experience damage to the spleen, and some may have to have part or all of this organ removed.
Damage to the Spleen and How It Affects You
The spleen is an internal organ that is part of your immune system, but although it is important for a robust immune system, it is not absolutely critical to your body’s operation. In fact, people can live without their spleen and even enjoy a mostly normal life.
However, a ruptured spleen can cause serious damage to your internal organs and could be fatal, especially if you become septic.
How Do I Know If I Have Spleen Damage After a Bike Accident?
Spleen damage should be diagnosed by a physician, who will be able to determine the extent of the damage and offer treatment options. Unlike other types of bicycle accident injuries, damage to the spleen isn’t always immediately apparent.
Furthermore, after an accident, your body releases adrenaline, which masks the feeling of pain and gives you a sense that you feel fine. With a ruptured spleen, however, most people experience searing pain in their abdomen.
Other symptoms of a ruptured spleen can include:
- Painful sensations along the left side of your abdomen, just below the rib cage
- Feeling faint or fainting
- Confusion or disorientation
- Pain in the left shoulder due to nerve damage caused by the damaged spleen
- Blurry vision
Many of these symptoms are also due to the drop in your blood pressure if you have internal bleeding from spleen damage or other internal organ damage.
Treating a Ruptured Spleen
A ruptured spleen needs medical attention. Each person’s injury will be different, so the recommended treatment will differ. If your doctor suspects internal organ damage, they confirm it through a CT scan or an MRI scan.
Some minor spleen injuries heal on their own, but moderate to major damage, especially if the person suffers internal bleeding and a drop in blood pressure, may require emergency surgery to repair the damage. The surgery often includes removing part or all of the spleen, but sometimes, the doctors can repair it.
Although it’s possible to live without your spleen, there are complications if you have to have a damaged spleen removed. The spleen works in concert with your immune system to fight off infections in the body; without it, your immune system could be compromised.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to take more proactive steps to avoid being sick or take additional medication.
Have You Suffered a Damaged Spleen After a Bicycle Accident?
If you have been struck by a driver while riding your bicycle, seeking medical attention is critical, even if you don’t think you are badly hurt. A doctor can properly diagnose a ruptured spleen, which could be dangerous if left untreated.
You may have grounds to seek compensatory damages from the other driver; a Bakersfield car accident lawyer can advise you about your claim.