ALC is a medical emergency. As there is usually nothing an onlooker can do to treat the cause, the best advice is to call 911 and get the person to the hospital as soon as possible. It should be remembered, however, that even minor changes such as slurring words or unsteadiness could be an early sign of impending problems that should beinvestigated. Do not wait for the person to “pass out” before seeking medicalcare.
After contacting the ambulance, there are some things that can be done to help keep the person safe until help arrives. For example, if the person does not respond when you shake them or yell their name, check to make sure they are still breathing, and that they have a pulse. If they do not, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).If you do not know CPR, an ambulance dispatcher can talk you through the procedure over the telephone. If heat stroke is a possibility, get the person into the shade or an air-conditioned area immediately. If there is ice available (or even cold soft drink cans), place it in the groin area and under the neck. If you know that the probable cause of ALC is type II diabetes, provide the person with sugar as soon as possible. The best way to provide this sugar is through a paste that can be applied to the gums (called Glucagon, among other things). If this paste is not available, regular table sugar can also be placed under the lips and against the gums. The blood vessels in this area are very close to the surface, and readily absorb the sugar, getting it into the blood system and to the brain very quickly. If the person is having a seizure, do not touch them unless it is absolutely necessary to help them avoid injury. If possible, open their collar, remove ties or other constricting things from around the neck and unbutton their shirt. Never try to force anything into the mouth. Remove from the area any objects such as chairs or tables that the person might strike, thereby further injuring themselves. Do not attempt to restrain the person in any way. When the seizure has stopped, place the person on their side in the recovery position. Look around the area for any pill or chemical containers.This will give the healthcare team valuable clues about overdose, poisoning, or medication interaction as cause for the ALC.
Self care measures for ALC are general, and consist mainly of ways to prevent the various causes of ALC. Carefully following the treatment regimens for diseases such as diabetes, maintaining and using safety equipment, watching your diet for too much cholesterol, and lowering your blood pressure if needed are all ways to care for yourself and prevent various possible causes of ALC.
Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.
Other therapies available for treating ALC are specific to the underlying condition.
Surgery is used to relieve pressure in the brain from a developing mass. A growing mass, which can take many forms (i.e., bleeding from a stroke or aneurysm, abscess from an infection, a tumor or swelling related to trauma), can press on the brain and cause ALC. If this is the case, your doctor will order surgery to remove the offending mass.
If surgery is necessary, a craniotomy will most likely be done. A craniotomy is a surgical method of cutting open the skull to gain access to the brain. After anesthesia is given and the patient is asleep, the surgeon will cut a flap in the skin to expose the bone of the skull. They will then usually drill a number of holes is the skull and use a specialized saw to connect them. The bone flap is then removed, exposing the brain. What happens next will depend on the underlying cause of ALC. If it is an aneurysm, then it may either be clipped, or a special reinforcing fabric will be placed around it to keep it from getting bigger. If the cause is bleeding into the brain or abscess, the surgical team will remove it from the area. In other cases, a tumor may be removed.
Following surgery, the patient is usually admitted to an intensive care unit where vital signs and pressure inside the skull can beclosely monitored. Medications are usually given to limit the chance for infection and seizures after surgery. The person will also be watched closely for changes in level of consciousness and weakness or loss of speech that often signal problems. Frequently the person will only stay in the ICU for about 24 hours. Depending on the outcome, the person may be released home or sent to are habilitation hospital for further treatment.
The prognosis for ALC varies widely depending on the cause.
Follow-up depends on the type of illness and the severity of ALC.
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