In contrast to 60 minutes of acute hypoglycemia, 90 minutes of severe hypoglycemia did cause hippocampal brain injury (Fig. 3). When compared to CON-SH90 rats, recurrent antecedent hypoglycemia resulted in reduced hippocampal brain damage after 90 minutes of severe hypoglycemia (Fig. 4). These data suggest that prolonged exposure to low blood glucose levels can lead to brain damage.
In animal studies, severe hypoglycemia causes brain injury and long-term problems in learning and memory by depriving the brain of glucose (3,4). In humans, hypoglycemia is associated with increased risk for cognitive impairment and dementia (5,6).
The brain is very sensitive to low blood sugar levels. Even mildly low blood sugars can cause nerve cell damage and affect your thinking abilities. More severe cases can lead to confusion, irritability, anxiety, depression, and even death.
As you can see, hypoglycemia has many negative effects on your body and mind. It is important to treat any case of hypoglycemia as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
In addition to its immediate consequences, hypoxia generates delayed functional and metabolic abnormalities, which can lead to cell death. Parts of the hippocampus, the dorsolateral caudate nucleus, and the reticular nucleus of the thalamus are the brain areas most vulnerable to this sort of lesion. Over time, these changes could contribute to the development of dementia or other neurological disorders.
Hypoxia occurs when the body is unable to supply enough oxygen to meet the demands of the tissues. This can happen during acute events such as heart attacks or strokes, but it can also occur gradually over time without any apparent cause. Exposure to low levels of oxygen over a long period of time can damage many parts of the brain, causing memory problems, learning difficulties, depression, and anxiety. This is because certain cells in these regions need a fairly constant level of oxygen to function properly. If these cells are deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time, they will die.
The brain is very sensitive to fluctuations in oxygen levels. Even when exposed to chronic hypoxia, some people develop severe symptoms while others do not. One factor that may explain why some individuals are more susceptible to oxygen deprivation than others is genetics. Some studies have shown that families with several members who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or another type of cognitive impairment have a higher rate of blood circulation problems in those family members who already have brain lesions.
Hypoglycemia frequently results in a lack of brain fuel, leading in functional brain failure, which can be rectified by increasing plasma glucose concentrations. Rarely, extreme hypoglycemia induces brain death that is not caused by a lack of glucose. The brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of low blood sugar because it relies heavily on glucose for fuel. When blood sugar levels drop too low, nervous system dysfunction often occurs first at the most basic nerve signals, such as those controlling heart rate and breathing. As the severity of the hypoglycemia increases, so does the risk of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Ultimately, these symptoms lead to impaired judgment and behavior that may include confusion, anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression, paranoia, and delusions. In addition to these autonomic nervous system effects, severe hypoglycemia can also cause neurological damage through other mechanisms, such as increased intracranial pressure or reduced oxygenation of the brain.
How does hypoglycemia affect the brain? The brain is very sensitive to changes in blood glucose levels. Decreases in blood glucose below normal will eventually result in brain dysfunction or damage. The brain uses glucose as its main source of energy. So when there is not enough glucose available in the blood to meet the needs of the brain, serious problems can arise. When blood glucose levels fall low enough, the body begins to release hormones that trigger the release of fatty acids from internal stores into the bloodstream.
Although the loss of function is practically rapid, there is no defined clinical death time at which the non-functioning brain obviously dies. The most sensitive cells in the brain, the CA1 neurons of the hippocampus, are killed by as little as 10 minutes of oxygen deprivation. The majority of cells in the brain are not particularly vulnerable to anoxia from lack of blood flow; instead it is the small number of extremely metabolically active cells called glial cells that die first. These include the astrocytes that form the supportive framework for the neurons and the microglia that survey the environment for invasion by foreign particles or infection by disease-causing organisms.
Your brain continues functioning after you die because all of the cells remain alive for several days. During this time, they continue to consume nutrients and remove waste, just like when you were living. The only difference is that now they are doing these things without any connection to the outside world: there are no more signals coming in from your eyes saying "it's day" or "it's night", so the cells keep on working even when you're dead.
After about three days, the remaining glial cells begin to degrade faster than they're being created, and within a few more days the tissue becomes saturated with toxic substances that can lead to further degradation. Finally, after about a week, there is very little more that can be done for the tissues beyond removing any visible remains.
A severe brain injury is often characterized as a condition in which the patient has been unconscious for 6 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia lasting 24 hours or longer. Once the acute period has gone, these individuals are likely to be hospitalized and get therapy. However, some patients may experience slow improvement or stabilization of their symptoms.
In general, the more severely you injure your brain, the longer you will remain in this state. After several months, even years, can pass without any significant change happening to you. But this depends on many factors such as how young you are when you get injured, what kind of injury it is, etc.
Young children may not show much improvement because their brains are still developing. As adults, we know that learning new skills or gaining new abilities usually requires our brains to grow cells called neurons. Studies have shown that this neural growth also occurs after childhood injuries, but it is not as great as it does in adults who never had an injury.
The most important thing is that you keep your brain healthy. This means having no chronic diseases or infections that could cause harm to your brain tissue. It also means not using drugs that could damage brain cells. Finally, it means getting adequate rest and relaxation so your brain can repair itself between accidents days, weeks, or months later.