What is a comma?

A coma is generally understood to be a state of unconsciousness from which a patient cannot be awakened. While unconscious, the patient cannot engage in voluntary actions, does not exhibit a sleep-wake cycle, and does not register any reaction to any type of stimuli. Essentially, the comatose patient remains alive, but is completely unable to relate to the world at large.

Taking the name from the Greek word koma , which means deep sleep, a coma can be the result of several different events. Problems with the central nervous system can invoke a coma. Medical crises like a stroke can also cause the patient to go into a coma. There are cases where the intoxication caused the individual to fall into a coma for a prolonged period.

Accidents can also cause a coma. Any type of accident involving head trauma has the potential to cause the individual to become unconscious and sink into a coma. This is especially true when a concussion is suspected. This is generally attributed to damage to the section of the brain known as the reticular formation. It is this area of ​​the brain that helps regulate the daily cycle of waking and sleeping.

There are also examples of medically induced comas. For example, a healthcare professional may choose to use medication to induce a coma if there has been a serious head trauma that needs to be addressed. Doing so is understood to help protect higher brain function from both trauma and medical procedures that may be necessary to effect recovery.

While most people understand a coma to be a state in which the individual is completely still and silent, that is not always the case. In some cases, the comatose patient may exhibit some involuntary movement that appears to be voluntary. There is also the possibility that the patient vocalizes from time to time. However, all of these actions are not under the control of the individual, and do not necessarily indicate that he or she is becoming more aware of the environment.

Comas often last from a few days to several weeks. Recovery from coma usually takes some time as the patient slowly regains control of motor functions and may regain speech and other communication skills. In some cases, complete recovery does not take place. In other cases, the individual may enter what is known as a vegetative state or may never regain consciousness and expire.

While medical science has produced coma treatments that have been successful in some cases, there is no exact treatment to treat a coma. Health professionals approach each case individually and formulate treatment based on known factors that relate to the patient.

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