Being in a state of confusion means not being able to think clearly or quickly, feeling disorientated, and struggling to pay attention, make decisions, or remember things.
A simple test for confusion is to ask the person their name, age and today's date, and see if they seem unsure or answer incorrectly.
It's understandable to fear the worst and assume it's a sign of dementia – but if the confusion came on over a short period of time (acute confusion), dementia is unlikely to be the sole cause.
If the confusion has come on suddenly, take them to your nearest hospital or for an ambulance, especially if they're showing other signs of illness such as a fever, or their skin or lips are turning blue .
If the person is diabetic...
If the person is diabetic, check their blood sugar level. You can check this if they have a testing device with them. You'll need to prick their finger with the device and place the droplet of blood on the testing strip. Compare the reading with these target blood sugar levels.
The most common causes of sudden confusion are:
This information should give you a better idea of the cause of someone's confusion, but shouldn't be used as a diagnostic tool. Always see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Less common causes of sudden confusion are:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.