Psychology and Psychiatry

Loss of consciousness

Loss of consciousness - This is a condition that is caused by transient dysfunction of the cerebral blood flow, causing tissue hypoxia. It manifests itself as a loss of human awareness of reality, loss of reflexes, lack of response to external stimulation (deafening sounds, tweaks, slapping the cheeks), and suppression of the ganglionic nervous system. Disassembled state is often a sign of various pathologies or may be associated with individual ailments. The reasons for the disappearance of consciousness, there are many.

Sudden loss of consciousness is characterized by neurogenic etiology (epilepsy or stroke) or somatogenic (hypoglycemia, cardiac dysfunction) genesis. In addition, it is short or stable.

Causes of loss of consciousness

Spontaneous loss of consciousness is divided into short-term and persistent. A short loss of consciousness is often not dangerous. It is characterized by a duration from a couple of seconds to two or three minutes. A short loss of consciousness (fainting) does not bear serious consequences and most often does not require medical intervention.

The described disorder is a concomitant symptom of the following ailments: epilepsy, concussion, hypoglycemia (temporary decrease in blood glucose), circulatory disorders of the brain, sudden changes in blood pressure.

Sustained loss of consciousness for the body passes with great serious consequences. Even if help and resuscitation manipulations are rendered in a timely manner, the condition in question represents a threat to the life activity and health of the individual. These include: extensive cerebral hemorrhage (stroke), arrest or arrhythmia, rupture of the aneurysm, various types of shock, brain contusion, acute poisoning, internal bleeding and profuse blood loss, organ damage, various kinds of asphyxia; conditions caused by oxygen starvation; diabetic coma

The concomitant negative factors and reasons for a brief loss of consciousness are often caused by physical indicators or the susceptibility of the human psyche to certain situations or events (bad news, an unpleasant visual manner). Changes in blood flow in the brain against the background of individual factors do not pose a particular threat. The most serious thing that happens is a fall and a possible injury due to it. For example, during pregnancy, severe fatigue, hunger, severe fright, unexpected joy, oxygen deficiency (overheating, stuffiness in the room), severe intense pain, emotional stress.

Loss of consciousness caused by pathological changes require medical assistance and long-term treatment. It often occurs due to heart disease (ischemia, arrhythmia), post-traumatic condition, osteochondrosis of the cervical segment, convulsive seizures (epilepsy), diabetes (a sharp increase or decrease in sugar), neoplasms, uncontrolled use of drugs aimed at reducing or increasing blood pressure.

Today, scientists have identified several causes that increase the risk of loss of consciousness. The following are the main ones: lack of blood in the brain, lack of nutrition of the brain, low oxygen levels in the blood, disruption of work, as a result of which uncharacteristic discharges appear in the brain area. The described violations indicate the presence of temporary dysfunctions or indicate quite serious pathology. The following reasons are presented in more detail.

A lack of blood supply to the brain can occur due to an overly pronounced function of the ganglion system of a person. Often, a similar reaction happens due to unusual situations or exposure to external stimuli. For example, when frightened, due to various experiences, lack of oxygen.

Problems with cardiac activity also often cause a shortage of blood in the brain, causing fainting. This happens because of a decrease in blood emissions. Such cases often lead to a heart attack. Also fainting may occur due to a breakdown of the heart rhythm. This problem is often caused by nerve impulses accompanying the atrium and ventricles.

Loss of consciousness causes often lie in significant changes in the large capillaries supplying the brain. For example, with such a disease as atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the vessel lumen is observed, due to which the supply of various organs is disturbed, including the brain.

Loss of consciousness can often occur due to the presence of blood clots, since there is a possibility of their partial or complete closure of the vascular gaps, which will impede the free flow of blood. Mostly blood clots occur due to surgery. Often, blood clots clog the capillaries after heart surgery, for example, when replacing heart valves. People who have a tendency to increased thrombosis are prescribed to prevent serious consequences, a number of drugs that thin the blood.

Dizziness and loss of consciousness are quite often caused by problems with pressure, which is kept at low numbers for a long time. Subjects abusing the use of drugs that reduce pressure, and the elderly are also at risk.

Abrupt movement of the body in space often also causes fainting. For example, a person can rise sharply, thereby changing the sitting position to the vertical. During the inactivity of the lower extremities, the work of the vessels is suspended, which cannot quickly return to the desired shape with a sharp upright position.

Various shock states are often the causes of loss of consciousness, namely, anaphylactic shock due to a bright allergic reaction, an infectious shock, which is a complication of severe illnesses.

Loss of consciousness due to oxygen deficiency in children or women occurs if the inhaled air does not contain the required amount of O2, therefore in the stuffy spaces the risk of fainting states increases.

In the pubertal stage of development, loss of consciousness can be provoked by various ailments affecting the lungs, such as asthma. Especially this problem affects people suffering from the chronic form of such ailments. Persistent cough often causes various dysfunctions of the pulmonary system, as a result of which a significant oxygen deficiency occurs during inhalation.

Common enough causes of fainting are considered to be anemia and oxygen oxide poisoning, which is a transparent gas that does not have a pronounced smell and taste.

Loss of consciousness can also occur due to severe head injuries, with a stroke of any origin, epilepsy.

Loss of consciousness for a few seconds can occur with sharp pain, due to severe fatigue, nervous overstrain, constant lack of sleep. This phenomenon occurs as a result of expansion of the capillaries of the muscles, a sharp drop in pressure, and outflow of blood from the brain.

Fainting also develops when swallowing, at the time of urination or an act of defecation. This type of short-term loss of consciousness can be attributed to the state when an individual loses consciousness due to a tight tie or an excessively tight gate. Fainting is often accompanied by such illnesses as diabetes, amyloidosis, alcoholism.

Weakness and loss of consciousness in certain circumstances are also observed in completely healthy individuals. For example, the consequence of fasting and adherence to strict diets is a deficiency of glucose in the brain, which starts the metabolic process of starvation of the cortex. If you physically load yourself intensively on an empty stomach, then a hungry syncope will be the result.

Abuse of simple carbohydrates can also lead to a transient loss of consciousness. If the food consists solely of sweets drank tea with honey, then insulin release by the pancreas will happen. Simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed, so that their content in the blood directly after eating is quite large. The amount of insulin produced in the blood will be equal to the indicators of sugar. After utilization of blood sugar, insulin will continue to work, while decomposing blood proteins. As a result, ketone bodies that cause metabolic disturbances in the brain, resulting in an unconscious state, will be transported to the blood vessels.

Loss of consciousness for a few seconds can often occur due to a spasm of the cervical capillaries, if you jump into the icy water in extreme heat. In the blood of people, as a result of the ascent to a considerable height, the partial pressure of O2 increases, as a result, oxygen begins to be utilized worse by the cells and oxygen starvation occurs, the result of which is loss of consciousness. Due to prolonged exposure to a steam bath or sunstroke, you can also faint. Motion sickness in transport often provokes loss of consciousness. Less commonly, consciousness can be lost when doing weight lifting exercises or while playing brass or woodwind instruments. In addition, unconsciousness vomiting occurs in subjects by inhaling smoke or smoking large quantities, due to the onset of hypoxia and metabolic disorders.

The reasons for the loss of consciousness in the strong half may differ significantly from the factors causing the female syncope. Men may fall into a state of insensitivity more often due to alcohol poisoning, intense physical exertion, tight shirt collar. In older members of a strong half, fainting often occurs during nighttime urination.

Loss of consciousness vomiting in the weak half, in turn, is more often observed with internal blood loss caused by gynecological ailments, various pathologies of pregnancy, a powerful emotional outburst, an excessively strict diet.

Symptoms of loss of consciousness

There are several common types of loss of consciousness: cardiogenic syncope, neurogenic and hyperventilation.

The first occurs in the pathology of heart rhythm, conduction disorders, myocardial infarction.

Neurogenic syncope are:

- vasodepressor, occurring more often in adolescents with Algia, stuffiness, emotional stress, prolonged standing, various fears;

- orthostatic, manifested when abruptly adopting a vertical position, taking certain pharmacopoeial agents;

- come due to increased susceptibility of the carotid sinus;

- appear due to squeezing inside the breasts (appears with frequent night urination, coughing, acts of defecation).

Hyperventilation syncope occurs due to a sense of fear, anxiety by the individual. Its mechanism is due to an uncontrolled increase in the frequency and deepening of breathing.

The following are typical signs and symptoms of loss of consciousness. Before falling into an unconscious state, an individual often feels an attack of nausea, nausea, there is a veil, flies in front of his eyes, the subject hears a beep, there comes a sudden weakness, and occasionally - a yawn. There may also be a knockdown of limbs and a feeling of a fainting moment.

The characteristic symptoms of the described state include: cold sweat, fading of the skin, although some individuals may have a small blush. After falling into a state of insensitivity, the individual's epidermis acquires an ashy tint, the frequency of myocardial contractions can either rise or fall, the pulse is characterized by a small fullness, the muscle tone is reduced. During an individual's fainting, his pupils are dilated, react slowly to light. Reflexes are often mild or absent. Symptoms with short-term loss of consciousness persists for no more than two seconds.

A prolonged loss of consciousness is characterized by an unconscious state lasting more than five minutes. This condition is often accompanied by convulsions and involuntary urination.

Usually, physicians distinguish three phases of loss of consciousness: a pre-unconscious state, a direct syncope, and a post-unconscious state.

The state preceding the loss of consciousness is characterized by the appearance of precursors. This condition has a duration of up to twenty seconds. It is manifested by the following symptoms: nausea, lack of air, severe dizziness, weakness, feeling of heaviness in the lower extremities, pallor of the dermis, cold sweat, numbness of the extremities, decreased breathing, weak pulse, decrease in pressure, darkening and the appearance of "flies" in the eyes, gray skin covers, the sound can sound sick. In addition to the symptomatic symptoms, an individual patient also has anxiety or a feeling of fear, rapid heartbeat, yawning, a feeling like a lump in the throat, numbness of the tip of the tongue, fingers, lips. Often, loss of consciousness does not occur, and the seizure ends on the listed symptoms. Especially when taking the patient immediately after the appearance of the first precursor of the horizontal position. Very rarely, fainting is characterized by suddenness, in other words, it occurs in the absence of previous precursors. For example, with various violations of myocardial rhythm. The feeling of loss of consciousness and "floating out from under the feet of the earth" are the final sign of the phase in question.

The stage of directly fainting has the following signs of loss of consciousness: unconsciousness, shallow breathing, a decrease in muscle tone, weakness of neurological reflexes, and sometimes convulsions. The pupils are dilated, the response to light is reduced. Pulse is rather weak or not detectable at all.

While in a state of insensitivity, the epidermis becomes pale, ashen or greenish, feels cold to the touch, pressure decreases (systolic pressure goes up to 60 mm Hg and below), pupils are dilated, weakly react to light, breathing becomes superficial (sometimes that a person does not breathe at all), the pulse is rather weak, filiform, reflexes decrease. If blood circulation in the brain is not restored after twenty seconds, involuntary urination and defecation may occur, and convulsions are also possible.

The post-fainting stage is characterized by the preservation of general weakness against the background of the return of consciousness. At the same time, a sharp adoption of a horizontal position can generate a new attack.

In patients after a complete return of consciousness, there is no disorientation in time, self, and space. The first reaction to fainting is fright. Therefore, breathing and heart rate increase. People feel tired, feel broken, and uncomfortable sensations often appear in the epigastric region. People do not remember the middle phase of the unfeeling state. Their last memories relate to the first stage, that is, deterioration of well-being.

Brief loss of consciousness

Sudden falling into a stateless state always provokes stress in people, because their brain associates the phenomenon in question with a disturbance that is dangerous for life or with an early demise. The loss of consciousness mainly occurs due to O2 deficiency in brain tissue. Since this organ has a rather intense metabolic exchange and the need for consuming a huge amount of oxygen, a slight decrease in the oxygen content causes disturbances in consciousness.

The brain regulates the functioning of the body. He can also turn off organs that he currently considers irrelevant to the vital functions of the body, and help vital organs, such as the heart. Turning off the mind, the brain, as it were, turns off individual oxygen consumers from the chain to reduce the body's consumption of energy. The consequence of this is muscular weakness, dizziness and loss of consciousness, in which the body assumes a horizontal position, becomes completely immobilized, which allows the body to direct blood flow to the neurons of the brain. As a result of this mechanism, the individual quickly returns to consciousness.

Short-term loss of consciousness is neurogenic, somatogenic and extreme.

In turn, the neurogenic syncope is caused by various factors and is subdivided into the types below, namely reflex syncope, emotiogenic, associative, dyscirculatory, disadaptation.

Рефлекторный обморок провоцируется ростом напряжения парасимпатической нервной системы, спада давления по причине быстрого расширения капилляров, что уменьшает кровоснабжение мозговой ткани. This type of fainting occurs predominantly in a standing position. Reflex unconsciousness may occur due to exposure to stressors, a sudden sensation of pain (more often in young individuals). In addition, the considered variation of fainting often occurs with the rapid movement from a horizontal position to the vertical torso of a person, with a long-term stay in a horizontal position, an act of defecation, urination, during eating (mostly in older people).

Emotion-induced loss of consciousness comes due to a sharp emotional outburst, fright. It is more often observed at neurotic conditions. Often, emotionally unstable people have a heartbeat, a sensation of heat and difficulty breathing on the background of a frightening event. There may also be a feeling of loss of consciousness.

Associative fainting occurs if the subject has a memory of past pathogenic situations associated with loss of consciousness.

Dyscirculatory unconsciousness is caused by transient spasm of the capillaries of the brain, which for a short period deprives a certain segment of the brain of oxygen. A more often described kind of insensitive state is found in subjects suffering from vascular dystonia, migraines, hypertensive crisis.

Disadaptation loss of consciousness occurs when an individual stays in a hot room, in an environment with low or high oxygen content.

Cardiogenic syncope occurs due to cardiac pathology, for example, in case of valvular disease, insufficient blood release, arrhythmias.

A sudden loss of somatogenic consciousness is associated with dysfunction of some organs. Therefore, it can be cardiogenic, hypoglycemic, anemic, and respiratory.

Anemic syncope occurs as a consequence of significant blood loss, in particular, quantitatively the loss of red blood cells, which are the main carriers of O2.

Hypoglycemic unconsciousness is observed in a situation of sudden rapid decline in blood sugar, which is the main nutrient element of the brain.

Respiratory syncope is caused by a disorder of the respiratory system.

The weakness of the loss of consciousness of extreme genesis occurs due to the influence of various external factors. It happens:

- intoxication, inhalation of various toxic gases;

- medical, due to the reception of pharmacopoeial agents that reduce the tone of the capillaries;

- hyperbaric, due to the high pressure in the respiratory system due to the increased figures of atmospheric pressure;

Fainting and loss of consciousness, what is the difference

Both of these phenomena are not uncommon, but it is rather difficult for an unprepared person to determine whether an individual fainted or lost consciousness. The average man in the street does not have the proper knowledge, so he cannot notice the difference between fainting and loss of consciousness.

So, fainting is called a sudden, short-term loss of mind, due to transient insufficiency of the capillaries of the brain. In other words, the brain feels the lack of oxygen due to poor blood flow. The described state comes as a result of the sudden onset of oxygen starvation. It is accompanied by the depression of reflexes, a decrease in the frequency of myocardial contractions, a decrease in pressure.

Loss of consciousness is a prolonged disorder in which there is a lack of reflexes and inhibition of the ganglionic nervous system. The violation in question is dangerous for the possibility of going into a coma.

Below are the main characteristics of loss of consciousness and fainting.

Absolutely all individuals can fall into the state of syncope or syncope, without regard to their age differences, gender, and physical condition. Short fainting occurs more often when frightened, in a stuffy room due to lack of air, during menstruation, during gestation, with a sudden decrease in pressure, due to overdose of drugs or abuse of alcohol-containing liquids, during excessive exercise, fasting or improper diet. Each of these factors provokes the outflow of blood from the brain tissue, which causes short-term oxygen starvation of neurons.

The main signs of syncope (fainting) are the following: slight mental confusion, noise arising in the ears, yawning, dizziness, cooling of the extremities, blanching or blueness of the dermis, excessive sweating, reduced muscle tension, nausea, pressure drop, unpleasant sensation in the mouth, dilated pupils . Falling into a faint state looks from the outside as if a person is gradually sinking to the floor. Disconnection of consciousness does not occur instantly and can last up to 120 seconds.

Loss of consciousness is a long-term syncope occurring due to a strong oxygen deficiency in brain cells.

Among the factors leading to the considered infringement, are the following: impaired blood flow through the capillaries caused by thrombosis, arrhythmias, narrowing the lumen of blood capillaries, embolism, venous congestion, lack of cardiac output, a decrease in the sugar concentration, an overdose of insulin, epilepsy, brain concussion, pathologies of the nervous system, chronic illnesses of the pulmonary system, osteochondrosis of the cervical segment, intoxication of the body with various toxic agents such as: nicotine, carbon monoxide, pirtosoderzhaschie substances.

In an unconscious state, the individual lies motionless. It has no reactions to external stimuli, the muscles of the body are relaxed, due to which involuntary urination or an act of defecation is possible, and the sensitivity of the pupils is reduced. Skin cyanosis of the skin, nail cyanosis due to impaired breathing and oxygen deficiency are also noted.

First aid for loss of consciousness

Having noticed that the individual loses consciousness, in the first turn, it is recommended to give first aid and take actions to prevent the occurrence of bruises and head injuries. Then, the etiological factor of the syncope should be eliminated. For example, if an individual has disconnected due to heat, then the room must reduce the temperature by opening the windows. You can try to return the person to consciousness through external stimuli (splashing the face with cold water, patting the cheeks, irritation with ammonia).

Loss of consciousness first aid should rule out commotion and unnecessary fuss. Panic only exacerbates the situation.

If an individual has an ordinary swoon, then the elimination of the factor that gave rise to such a state will quickly return the mind to the person. In a fainting state, loss of consciousness arises from a violation of the blood supply to the brain. Therefore, the restoration of normal blood circulation is the main task of people providing assistance. In order to return the bloodstream to normal, it is necessary to lay the victim. In this case, his body should be placed on the same level with the head. This means that, contrary to popular opinion of ordinary people, it is not necessary to put anything under the head, and even less it should not be thrown back. Since the vascular tone is reduced, then raising the head will lead to an outflow of blood from the brain cells and the restoration of the blood supply to the brain will not happen.

Assisting in the loss of consciousness is usually not much different with measures to remove a person from fainting. The patient must be removed from the area of ​​exposure to damaging factors, his clothes should not be unfastened, air laid, laid flat, braked or the patient should not be lifted. When nasal bleeding occurs, the individual should be laid to the side. It is impossible to give water to a person who is in a state of insensitivity, since his reflexes, including swallowing ones, are absent. The patient may choke, if you try to water his rape. If an individual has not regained consciousness after a hundred and twenty seconds, then he must be hospitalized.

Fainting rarely occurs suddenly. Often, it follows pre-unconscious symptoms, which include rapidly increasing nausea, dizziness, a sensation of tinnitus, and blurred eyes. All of the above is observed against the background of general weakness. Sometimes it may appear yawning, sweating. Human epidermis acquires wax pallor. After that, the muscles are relaxed, the individual switches off and settles. From the moment of detection, the first will take a bad state of health before the fall, most often, it takes no more than sixty seconds. Therefore, the loss of consciousness first aid should begin immediately after the appearance of the debut precursors. Indeed, often the etiological factor is unknown.

It is impossible for an individual who has come to consciousness to independently give medications, in particular, nitroglycerin, with complaints of heart algii. Because such actions can give rise to a collapse of pressure, which will cause a repeated syncope. Often, the loss of consciousness occurs against the background of a sharp drop in pressure, in which any nitrate-containing substances are completely contraindicated.

Loss of consciousness is considered to be quite a threatening symptom indicating the presence of a serious pathology in the body. Therefore, assistance in the loss of consciousness should be provided immediately. The person assisting with loss of consciousness does not have time to panic. Indeed, any delay in itself often carries a serious threat to the life of the victim.

It is easy to diagnose loss of consciousness. Suffice it to note the presence of such phenomena as the lack of response to external stimuli, covering pain, complete immobility, excluding convulsions. At the same time, determining the etiological factor often causes difficulty.

In order to facilitate the task of diagnosing syncope, physicians use all methods of research known to modern science. The process of diagnosis begins with a study of the history, which allows you to identify the presence of pathologies that can cause loss of consciousness, determine the reception of pharmacopoeial agents that lower the pressure or affect the functioning of the nervous system, it turns out, if possible, provoking a phenomenon, for example, physical overstrain, rapid rise from a lying position , being in a stuffy room, heat.

From laboratory studies, first of all, blood is taken:

- to conduct a general analysis, allowing to detect the presence of anemia;

- to determine the concentration of glucose (this analysis allows to establish the presence of hyper- or hypoglycemia);

- to identify indicators of O2 blood saturation (helps to identify disorders that interfere with normal oxygenation).

Various instrumental studies are also conducted:

- electrocardiogram, which allows to establish the presence of heart block and arrhythmia;

- a type of electrocardiogram - daily monitoring of myocardial rhythm;

- ultrasound examination of the heart muscle, which helps to detect changes in cardiac contractility of the heart, to establish the state of the valves;

- Doppler sonography of carotid capillaries, contributing to the establishment of barriers to blood flow;

- computed tomography, which allows to identify brain pathology;

- magnetic resonance imaging, aimed at the establishment of damaged segments of the brain tissue.

In order not to encounter with the considered violation, it is necessary to engage in preventive measures.

To prevent syncope from occurring, regular exercise is an ideal solution, which optimizes natural blood circulation and strengthens blood capillaries. It should be borne in mind that all loads on the body, first of all, should be regulated and moderate. No need to try at the first lesson to beat the Olympic records. The main thing here is systematic, not intensity. In addition, the evening promenade not only minimizes the risk of loss of consciousness, but also increases the overall resistance of the body to various ailments and stresses.

Aromatherapy also occupies a prominent position in the list of preventive measures. Regular aromatherapy procedures help to get rid of convulsions, spasms, improve blood circulation, saturate blood O2.

In addition to the listed preventive measures, there are activities aimed at avoiding fainting with a sense of precursors. If numbness of the extremities suddenly appears, nausea, cold sweat, then it is necessary to quickly take a recumbent position, raising your legs up, or crouch, with your head down below the level of your knees. Then it is necessary to remove from the neck area any objects that interfere with free breathing (tie, scarf). After relieving the condition, it is recommended to drink water or sweet tea.