Associated Medical Findings

Beyond measuring vital signs and detecting evidence of trauma, the general physical examination is most important for clues to systemic disorders that may alter consciousness. In the initial evaluation, detection of nuchal rigidity and skin lesions are the most important portions of the examination, because they may indicate the presence of bacterial meningitis (or, with nuchal rigidity, either subarachnoid hemorrhage or cerebellar tonsillar herniation). Other points of importance include evidence of hepatic disease, especially jaundice and signs of portal hypertension. An irregular cardiac rhythm raises the suspicion of systemic embolism, which may alter consciousness by producing a brain stem infarct or large bilateral cortical infarcts. Hematomas or purpura raise the possibility of platelet or coagulation disorders and may be associated with intracranial bleeding or conditions such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Edema may reflect cardiac, hepatic, renal, or nutritional disorders.

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Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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