Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....
, a coma (from the Greek
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...
koma, meaning deep sleep) is a state of unconsciousness
Unconsciousness is the condition of being not conscious—in a mental state that involves complete or near-complete lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli. Being in a comatose state or coma is a type of unconsciousness. Fainting due to a drop in blood pressure and a...
, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as comatose. According to the Glasgow Coma Scale
Glasgow Coma Scale
Glasgow Coma Scale or GCS is a neurological scale that aims to give a reliable, objective way of recording the conscious state of a person for initial as well as subsequent assessment...
though, a person with confusion is considered to be in the mildest coma.
Coma may result from a variety of conditions, including intoxication (such as illicit drug abuse, overdose or misuse of over the counter medications, prescribed medication, or controlled substances), metabolic
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...
abnormalities, central nervous system diseases, acute neurologic injuries such as stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...
s or herniations, hypoxia
Hypoxia, or hypoxiation, is a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Variations in arterial oxygen concentrations can be part of the normal physiology, for example, during strenuous physical exercise...
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...
Hypoglycemia or hypoglycæmia is the medical term for a state produced by a lower than normal level of blood glucose. The term literally means "under-sweet blood"...
or traumatic injuries such as head trauma caused by falls or vehicle collisions.