Many types of problems can cause coma. Some examples are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, often caused by traffic collisions or acts of violence, are common causes of comas.
  • Stroke. Reduced or interrupted blood supply to the brain (stroke), which may be caused by blocked arteries or a burst blood vessel, can result in coma.
  • Tumors. Tumors in the brain or brainstem can cause coma.
  • Diabetes. In people with diabetes, blood sugar levels that become too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) can cause a stroke or coma.
  • Lack of oxygen. People who have been rescued from drowning or those who have been resuscitated after a heart attack may not awaken due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • Infections. Infections such as encephalitis and meningitis cause swelling (inflammation) of the brain, spinal cord or the tissues that surround the brain. Severe cases of these infections can result in brain damage or coma.
  • Seizures. Ongoing seizures may lead to coma.
  • Toxins. Exposure to toxins, such as carbon monoxide or lead, can cause brain damage and coma.
  • Drugs and alcohol. Overdosing on drugs or alcohol can result in coma.
Oct. 12, 2012