While serious, the medical issue is a fairly typical complication of the type of subarachnoid hemorrhage stroke suffered by the 47-year-old rock star, according to Dr. Joseph Broderick, a member of the American Academy of Neurology and chair of the University of Cincinnati Neurology Department.
"The body regulates the amount of minerals in the blood within a narrow range, and sodium is one of them," said Broderick, a specialist in the treatment of acute stroke and the genetics of hemorrhagic stroke. Broderick, who is not treating Michaels and does not have first-hand knowledge of the singer's case, told MTV News earlier this week that based on the information made public so far, the case is very serious but could be survivable.
"There are a lot of things that could lead to sodium levels being outside normal range and it's not atypical as a complication of a subarachnoid hemorrhage," Broderick said on Wednesday. "It's complicated, but is generally a treatable thing that people recover from and not generally life-threatening."
Hyponatremia can make a patient sleepier and, as noted, increase the risk of seizures in the short term, but Broderick said it doesn't make them more prone to seizures in the long term. If properly managed by Michaels' doctors, the disorder should not pose a long term threat to his brain health. Broderick said reports that Michaels is able to speak and move around somewhat are positive signs, but without first-hand knowledge of his treatment and current condition, the neurologist said it was impossible to predict the singer's prospects for a full recovery.
"He's still in an area where there's a risk of things happening," the doctor said. "It is possible to come all the way back [from this kind of brain injury], but in this situation, it's impossible to say. It depends on how much blood is in there and if there is blood in the brain. Some people recover and get all the way back to where they were before."
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