Know the basics
What is Coma?
A coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness. The person who is in a coma looks like he or she is sleeping, but they cannot respond to voices, sounds, any stimulations even pain.
Over time, the person can start to gain back consciousness gradually. However, in some cases, they may go into a vegetative state and hardly to awaken again.
How common is Coma?
This health condition is common. It can affect patients at any age and can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of Coma?
The common symptoms of a coma are:
- Closed eyes
- Depressed reflexes, such as they cannot react to light or loud sound
- No responses of the body, except for reflex movements
- No responses to pain, except for reflex movements
- Uneven breath
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above. A coma is a medical emergency. It is important to seek for a medical help immediately.
Know the causes
What causes Coma?
- Severe brain injuries: Injuries in the head that hurt the brain such as traffic accidents or violence.
- Stroke: Decreasing or interruption of the blood supply to the brain, which usually caused by blocked arteries or a burst of blood vessel can result in a coma.
- Tumors: Tumors in the brain can cause a coma.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes have the considerable lower or higher level of blood sugar. This can cause a coma.
- Oxygen deprivation: People can be in the lack of oxygen after a drowning rescue of a heart attack.
- Infections: Severe infections cause swelling in the brain, spinal cord or the brain tissues can result in a coma.
- Seizures: A coma can happen after continuous seizures.
- Toxins: Exposure to toxins can cause brain damage and a coma.
- Drugs and alcohol: Overdosing on these can lead to a coma.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for Coma?
There are many risk factors for a coma, such as:
- Serious illness
- People with diabetes
- People with liver, kidney, or heart disease
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Coma diagnosed?
Because people in a coma cannot talk or react, your doctor will have to collect information about you provided by your family, friends, or witnesses. The doctor will want to know about your medical history, also about any drugs or alcohol you are using, and the situation leads to the coma. Any abnormal signs or symptoms are important, too.
In the physical exam, your doctor will test your reflexes and movements, response to pain, pupil size, eye movements, breath. He or she may also check your skin for signs of any bruises caused by trauma.
In addition, your doctor may perform some of those tests:
- Blood tests: This is to check your organ function and infection or toxin substances
- Urine test: to test if there is sign of using drugs
- Imaging Tests: These tests include X-rays, MRI Scan, CT Scan which are to get the detailed image of your brain and internal organs.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): This test records the brain’s activity by measuring electrical currents in your brain.
- Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture): This takes out a little amount of cerebrospinal fluid to test your pressure, blood, and infection
How is Coma treated?
A coma is a medical emergency. The treatment varies depending on the cause of the coma.
If the coma is caused by overdosing of drug or seizures, doctors will prescribe medications for you to treat the condition.
Other treatments focus on medications or therapies to treat an underlying disease such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Once the patient is stabilized, doctor will focus on providing sufficient nutrition and preventing the patient from infections and bedsores.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Coma?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with coma:
- Avoid getting injuries from your daily activity that can harm your head; remember to wear helmet while biking and athletic guards while playing sports.
- Do not overuse drugs or alcohol
- If you have diabetes, you should see your doctor regularly to check your blood sugar levels
- If you are ill or taking medicines, you should set a check-up plan with your doctor.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Coma. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coma/basics/definition/con-20028567. Accessed July 13, 2016.
Coma: Types, Causes, Treatments, Prognosis. http://www.webmd.com/brain/coma-types-causes-treatments-prognosis?page=1. Accessed July 13, 2016.
What is a coma? http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/coma.html. Accessed July 13, 2016.
Coma. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/coma/Pages/Introduction.aspx#what-coma-means. Accessed July 13, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017