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Many health problems cause confusion or decreased
alertness. It is not unusual for a person who is sick to be sleepy or confused
when he or she wakes up. But extreme sleepiness may be a symptom of a more
serious health problem.
Confusion may range
from mild to severe. Symptoms of confusion may include:
Decreased alertness occurs when a
person is not fully awake, aware of, or able to respond normally to his or her
external environment. Decreased alertness may also mean that a chronic illness
has gotten worse.
A sudden change in the mental state or level of
consciousness may be caused by:
Other problems that may lead to confusion or decreased
A complete medical examination may be needed before the cause
of your confusion or decreased alertness can be diagnosed. Treatment depends on
the cause of the problem. Contact your doctor for an exam if you are having
problems with confusion or decreased alertness.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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