Table of contents:
- Vegetative Condition Different from Coma
- List of Causes of Vegetative Conditions
- How to Overcome Vegetative Conditions
Recently, the leader of North Korea is reported to be experiencing a vegetative state. This condition, which is said to be the same as a coma, is a medical condition that requires the monitoring of medical personnel. So, what is the vegetative condition?
The vegetative condition is a chronic disorder of brain function. In this condition, the cerebrum or the part of the brain that controls behavior and thoughts no longer functions normally, but the hypothalamus and brain stem, the part of the brain that controls vital functions, can still function properly.
Vegetative Condition Different from Coma
Although it is often equated with a comma, the vegetative state is different from a coma, you know. In a coma, the patient will not be able to move, make a sound, let alone open his eyes and scream even though he has been pinched. In essence, the comatose patient is in a state of complete unconsciousness.
Unlike comatose patients, vegetative patients can open their eyes. The patient's heart and lungs can function like he althy people. In addition, the patient also has a sleep cycle, has reflexes, and can blink, grunt, or smile like a normal he althy person.
However, because of the abnormality of the cerebrum, sufferers of this condition cannot think, speak or respond to conversations, interact with the environment, follow orders, and show emotions.
List of Causes of Vegetative Conditions
The vegetative state is caused by acute brain damage due to illness or injury, which causes the sufferer to become unconscious and unresponsive to his surroundings. Here is the explanation:
Nontraumatic brain injury
This type of brain injury can occur when a person's brain tissue experiences a lack of oxygen or damage that is not caused by an external injury. Some of the causes include drug overdose, heart attack, meningitis, drowning, poisoning, and stroke.
traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury occurs when a person is subjected to a strong blow or blow to the head. This condition can be caused by a car accident, a fall from a height, an accident at work, or an assault involving a fist fight and injuring the head.
Progressive brain damage
Progressive brain damage is brain damage caused by conditions such as brain tumors, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
If a person is in a vegetative state for more than 4 weeks, he will be considered to be in a continuous vegetative state. However, if this condition continues for 6-12 months, the patient is declared to be in a permanent vegetative state.
How to Overcome Vegetative Conditions
Actually, there is no definite treatment for this condition. The doctor may try to provide therapy in the form of electrical stimulation so that the patient's brain can be stimulated and the patient can "wake up". However, this therapy still needs to be studied further.
Preferred care for vegetative patients includes nutritional intake, hygiene and support for general body functions. During treatment, the patient's body position needs to be changed regularly so that wounds do not form due to prolonged pressure on the skin (decubitus ulcers).
In addition, the patient's limbs also need to be moved regularly to prevent blood clots and muscle atrophy. The patient will also be placed on a catheter and diaper to facilitate urination and defecation.
Despite all that, the patient's progress will continue to be monitored regularly and carefully to look for signs of recovery. Families are also advised to provide support and light stimulation to stimulate the patient's five senses so that the sufferer can recover quickly.
The following are some of the stimulation that can be given by the family:
- Keep the patient communicating as usual. The family can tell various things that may be related to the sufferer, such as what moments the sufferer has missed.
- Families can play the sufferer's favorite music or movies.
- Showing various family photos is also possible to trigger the response.
- Rub and hold the patient regularly.
- Gives a fragrance indoors to stimulate the sense of smell.
vegetative conditions can be experienced by anyone and at any time suddenly. The thing to remember is that this condition is different from brain stem death, so the patient still has a chance to recover, but it usually takes a long time.
However, this also does not rule out the patient's brain losing all its functions. Recovery really depends on how big the brain injury was.
Therefore, it is very important for the family to discuss with the doctor about the patient's condition, the treatment plan for the patient, where the patient should be treated, and what actions need to be taken if there is improvement or worsening in the patient's brain condition.
In some countries, patients with vegetative conditions have the right to request euthanasia. However, this action is still not legally allowed in Indonesia.