Hypoglycemic stroke is a condition characterized by stroke-like symptoms and damage to the brain due to severe hypoglycemia. It is important to note that hypoglycemia is considered as a complication of diabetes. As for a stroke, it occurs once the supply of blood to the brain is disrupted by a clogged or ruptured vessel in the brain. A stroke involves death of the brain cells and capable of causing irreversible brain damage.
Individuals who have diabetes face the risk for developing an actual stroke. In such instances, the symptoms of hypoglycemia strikingly mimic an actual stroke.
Close look on hypoglycemia
The level of blood glucose that drops below 70 mg/dL simply indicates hypoglycemia. This condition is triggered by certain medications that are taken to manage diabetes, unable to eat enough food or use medications as prescribed and strenuous exercise without adequate food.
Hypoglycemia is also due to liver disease, alcohol consumption and a pancreatic tumor that generates excess insulin. There are also some individuals without diabetes that has idiopathic hypoglycemia that does not have any known cause.
Stroke or brain attack involves a disruption of blood and oxygen supply to the brain which leads to permanent damage for a few seconds. When it comes to an ischemic stroke, it develops once a blood clot blocks one of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. Arteries that are blocked can also cause ischemic strokes.
As for a hemorrhagic stroke, it develops from a weakened blood vessel in the brain that breaks and allows the leakage of blood which damages the brain cells.
What are the common symptoms?
The signs and symptoms shared between stroke and hypoglycemia include the following:
- Blurry vision
- Memory problems
- Tingling sensation
- Evident changes in the mood
- Diminished thinking capabilities
- Feeling faint
- Muscle aches
- Loss of consciousness
An insulin shock due to hypoglycemia can result to coma. Individuals who suffer from severe stroke might progress into a state of coma. The irreversible damage to the nervous system including the brain can result from both conditions.
What are the stroke-like hypoglycemic effects?
Once the level of glucose drops below 18 mg/dL, it can lead to failure of brain energy which is confirmed with an EEG or electroencephalogram. This test is used to measure the electrical activity in the brain. Death of the brain neurons occur along with other lasting damage to the brain once there is cessation of the brain’s electrical activity.
Even though hypoglycemic brain damage is strikingly similar to an ischemic stroke, there are certain differences that must be noted such as absence of damage to the brain stem and cerebellum. In one study conducted, hypoglycemia is also considered as an attack to the brain that can result to the death of the brain cells.