Section II. DISORDERS OF THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
The nervous system innervates and controls all the actions of the human body.
This is the reason why a disorder of the nervous system may affect motor functions,
disrupt bodily homeostasis, or balances.
DISORDERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
a. Definition of Disorders of Consciousness. These disorders, either
intracranial or extracranial, have a common cause which is loss of consciousness.
b. Causes of Disorders of Consciousness. An intracranial (inside the skull)
disorder of consciousness can be caused by a tumor (compression of the upper
brainstem, a stroke, seizure, intracranial pressure (ICP), or by metabolic changes such
as hypoglycemia or toxic ketoacidosis. An extracranial disorder may be caused by
trauma, electrical shock, drugs, and gases.
c. Signs/Symptoms of Disorders of Consciousness. These signs and
symptoms could be a change in the patient's level of consciousness. In this case, the
patient is alert and oriented. However, the patient could be lethargic, that is, sleepy or
drowsy but able to be awakened and respond appropriately to a command. The patient
could be in a stupor or spontaneous unconsciousness when it would be difficult to
awaken him. The patient could be in a semicoma in which pain would arouse him. A
patient in a coma cannot be aroused, even with painful stimuli. Changes in the level of
consciousness are a primary diagnostic symptom which can be assessed and
monitored. An initial baseline evaluation of the patient's level of consciousness is a
necessity. Other signs and symptoms of disorders of consciousness include the
(1) Trauma to the head. Automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, and
falls from ladders, rooftops, etc., can cause such trauma.
Abnormalities in the rate, depth, and odor of respirations.
(3) Changes in the pupils of the eye, responsiveness to light, diameter of
the pupil, and speech reaction.
Changes in the corneal reflex.
Seizures. In this case, check respirations and prevent aspiration.
Fluctuation of rectal temperatures due to hypothalamus malfunctions.