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Consciousness - decreased
Alternative namesDecreased consciousness refers to diminished alertness or awareness.
Decreased consciousness may result from a multitude of conditions including intoxication (drug, alcohol, or toxin), metabolic abnormalities, seizure activity ( epilepsy ), central nervous system diseases and conditions, head trauma , shock , decreased oxygen ( hypoxia ), and decreased blood pressure (hypotension).
Decrease in consciousness, unconsciousness , and coma almost always require medical evaluation (with the possible exception of alcohol intoxication , simple fainting , or a previously recognized seizure disorder ).
Persistent coma is called vegetative state.
In the event of a seizure (in someone else), loosen clothing, lay the person flat, and protect the person from injury by moving furniture and other objects out of the area. Although frightening, seizures are rarely harmful.
For decreased consciousness caused by seizures (epilepsy), carry a Medic-Alert bracelet or pendant stating that you have a seizure disorder (in case you have a seizure in the future). Avoid any circumstance that has previously triggered a seizure.
For decreased consciousness due to a known medical condition or for unexplained decrease in consciousness consult your physician.
Follow prescribed treatment.
Call your health care provider if
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed. The physical examination will include a detailed examination of the cardiovascular and nervous system.
Medical history questions documenting decreased consciousness in detail may include:
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
For seizure disorders, medications may be ordered. Surgery may be required to remove any tumor , scar, or abscess if one is causing epilepsy. Psychotherapy or counseling to understand and live with a seizure disorder may be recommended.
Update Date: 1/22/2004Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., M.Sc., Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT