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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes confusion in a stroke patient?

Answered by
Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3429 Questions

Posted on Thu, 16 Feb 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: My dad is 66 years old, caucasian, diabetic and s/p cardiac stent 7 years ago. He has a family history of diabetes (both parents) and stroke (mother - temporal arteritis). He is overweight (6'1, 275), sedentary. He suffers from arthritis and has had multiple steroid injections in his shoulders. Recently, due to financial issues, he stopped taking all of his medications. It has been a month. He states that his sugar has been fine - "always at or below 200" - but within the last week he started exhibiting strange behavior overnight as witnessed by his fiance (they live together). He would wake up confused and not recognize her; seeming not to understand what she was saying to him. He started taking his medications on Thursday under pressure from both her and I. His confusion continues - especially at night. He is sleeping more. His fiance states that he talked to her yesterday morning for the first time in 4 days (because of confusion). He's been back on his meds for 3 days. I continue to encourage him/her to go to urgent care or ER because he is reportedly "OK" during the day but according to fiance "I swear he don't know me and don't understand what I'm saying to him." Obviously he needs to be seen by a doctor. My hope is that you'll be able to give me some sort of idea of what's going on so that I can express to him WHY (what's possibly happening) it's important for him to see the doctor right away. Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 26 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Stroke to consider.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for using HCM.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

Stroke is most possible condition that may cause such issues, if blood sugar levels were stable under 200 mg/dl.

When suspected, stroke is a condition that needs evaluation and treatment in no time, so, it is necessary for your father to get evaluated at your ER.

Hope you found the answer helpful.

Let me know if I can assist you further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Erion Spaho 17 minutes later
Makes sense to me. My only question is why would the symptoms worsen overnight?
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Stroke is a progressive condition.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back.

Stroke is a progressive condition due to surrounding brain edema that may cause if untreated, that's why it may worsen in short time.

Hope this helps.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T

The User accepted the expert's answer

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