Unconsciousness - causes and symptoms

What are the causes of unconsciousness?

Basically, disorders of the cerebral blood flow, as they occur in brain injuries or a stroke due to bleeding or a blocked blood vessel, can be distinguished from metabolic disorders, which can occur in a poisoning by drugs or drugs, but also in diabetes, a massive liver weakness or a thyroid disease.
Disorders of brain function play an important role as further causes. Thus, a brain inflammation, a seizure disorder, a brain tumor or a brain injury after an accident may be responsible for a loss of consciousness. Here, the excitation processes in the brain are disturbed so that only more primitive functions can be exercised.

Disorders of cerebral circulation

Short fainting episodes are most commonly caused by a short-term disruption of cerebral circulation when one of the nerve centers that control cardiac function and are located in the heart and carotid arteries is malfunctioning. Among other things, these centers control the level of blood pressure in the body periphery - if the blood pressure falls sharply in the short term, the brain is not sufficiently supplied with blood and virtually switches to "emergency power".

These short unconsciousnesses are called syncope - depending on the affected nerve center, there are eg vagovasal syncope, micturyncope (when unconsciousness occurs when urinating), cough syncope, orthostatic syncope (if the unconsciousness occurs as soon as the person moves from the horizontal to the vertical) or the Adam Stokes attack, in which our biological pacemaker in the heart briefly exposes.

How does a loss of consciousness express itself?

With increasing disturbance, the entire mental processes are slowed down, until the consciousness is so limited that no sense perception is possible and the conscious control of various bodily functions is flagged: So it comes to a relaxation of the muscles - the victim crashes from a standing - Sometimes the control of urine or feces is disturbed.

In the case of unconsciousness, a distinction is made in the clinic as to whether the affected person fell down or whether the unconsciousness was so short and did not affect all levels of experience so that a fall could be avoided. Especially with syncope, generalized seizures in epilepsy, but also hypoglycaemia in diabetes or an increase in intracranial pressure, as they can wrap up after a hemorrhage in an accident, a fall is typical.

Unconsciousness without fall

Other forms of unconsciousness occur without falling: These include the so-called scabies and complex-focal seizures, so forms of epilepsy, which does not lead to a generalized seizure, but only a brief disruption of consciousness occurs, or a short-term circulatory disorder in the brain by a small Blood clots, a so-called TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), which can be a harbinger of a stroke, just like a migraine attack, which first signs up with an aura in which the person perceives everything as if through a veil.

After a brief unconsciousness, the affected person can often remember that he was black or cold, migraine sufferers describe, for example, the symptoms of an aura with flicker at the edge of the visual field or a kind of tunnel vision. However, in case of prolonged unconsciousness, the deactivation of brain functions over a longer period of time often leads to amnesia, that is, a memory gap that can be many days depending on the cause of the unconsciousness.

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