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Epilepsy

What are simple partial seizures?

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On one side of the brain, a simple partial seizure occurs. People who suffer a simple partial seizure usually do not lose consciousness or memory.

Simple partial seizures are a form of seizure where it primarily affects one side of the brain. Often the activity of the seizure will remain on this side while other times the activity of a seizure will spread and become partial complex or generalized in type.

Doctors can also label simple partial seizures “focal aware seizures” or “simple focal seizures.”

If a person has frequent simple partial seizures, a doctor can diagnose them with epilepsy, which is seizures that persist. An approximate 2-12 percent of all epileptic children experience simple partial seizures.

Causes

3d image of a human brain
There may be many potential causes for simple partial seizures, including traumatic brain injuries and diabetes.

A seizure occurs when a person encounters a disruption in the regular function of his / her brain. The brain communicates via electrical “signals,” so a person may have a seizure when those signals are disrupted.

Simple partial seizures occur in individuals with an electrical abnormality in a particular part of their brain and are susceptible to such impaired signals.

Doctors don’t know what causes certain forms of common partial seizure disorders but think genetic factors may be present.

Simple partial seizures causes include traumatic brain injury, which can create a brain scar that can disrupt regular electrical brain signals and trigger seizures. Brain irritation from surgery, stroke, or tumor can also interfere with electrical brain activity and can cause simple partial seizures.

Diabetes sufferers may experience a form of continuous simple partial seizures called epilepsy partialis continua (EPC). Addressing and correcting very high blood sugar levels can help to cure this rare condition. Any other brain structural abnormality can cause EPC, too.

Types

Other types of seizures include complex partial seizures which cause a person to lose consciousness. This is because the abnormal electrical activity affects both sides of the brain and regions of consciousness which are essential.

Another type is a generalized seizure, occurring when the entire brain of a person is affected. People with a widespread seizure are losing consciousness. Symptoms include tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures where the arms and legs are jerking, or small mal spells where nobody around them reacts to directives.

Symptoms

Memory lost in lady
A person suffering a simple partial seizure may not always be aware of something being wrong, although it may be a sign that a generalized seizure may follow.

Doctors often classify simple partial seizures into four types based on the area of the brain they affect. The location of the seizure usually determines the symptoms experienced as well.

Motor and sensory simple partial seizures may not change awareness or consciousness. However, some partial seizures can be simple or complex and be associated with autonomic or psychic problems.

Here are more details on these four simple partial seizure categories are listed below:

  • Motor: A motor seizure causes a person to lose control over muscle activity, usually in their arm, face, foot, or another part of their body. Due to the way motor nerves cross the brain, if a person loses control over the right side of their brain, it will cause problems on the left side of their body and vice-versa.
  • Sensory: Sensory seizures will cause changes to a person’s hearing, vision, or sense of smell. This can cause hallucinations and difficulty hearing. Also, as in motor seizures, a seizure focus on the right side of the brain can cause numbness or tingling on the left side of the body.
  • Autonomic: Autonomic seizures affect parts of the brain that deal with the functions of the body a person does not control with their thinking. Symptoms could include changes in heart rhythm, blood pressure, and bowel function.
  • Psychic: A psychic seizure causes a person to experience sudden emotional changes, such as feelings of fear, anxiety, or even déjà vu.

Some general symptoms of simple partial seizures that may occur in a given person alone or in combination, without loss of consciousness include:

  • being inattentive but still able to follow commands
  • changes in vision (often one side or the other)
  • difficulty speaking or not speaking for some time
  • feeling as if the skin is crawling (often affecting one side or the other)
  • numbness or tingling on one side of the body (whether the whole side or just part)
  • sweating or feeling anxious
  • decreased movement on one side of the body (whether the whole side or just part)
  • unusual eye movements, such as the eyes moving side to side quickly or gaze fixated in one direction

A simple partial seizure is, in some cases, a warning seizure that may mean another seizure is about to take place. They may be a sign of a generalized seizure that affects the whole brain and causes a loss of consciousness for the individual.

The majority of seizures last for more than 1 to 2 minutes. However, after a seizure has occurred a person can continue to feel confused or have trouble thinking clearly.

If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, it’s considered a medical emergency by physicians.

Treatment

Typically doctors recommend anti-convulsants as the first line of treatment when a person has suffered multiple seizures.

However, other treatment options include:

  • treating high blood sugars to decrease focal seizures due to diabetes
  • treating brain swelling caused by a tumor, for example, can reduce the size of a brain region that can trigger a seizure
  • treating the cause of a brain infection, such as herpes encephalitis, can also reduce the risk of a person having a seizure

Seizure drugs or these other treatments can, however, be ineffective in stopping seizures.

Other treatments include:

Diet

A modified diet known as a ketogenic diet is one alternative for treating certain types of simple partial seizures in children. For children who have not responded to other seizure treatments, many doctors suggest ketogenic diet. This diet is a extremely restrictive high-fat, low-carb diet which can be difficult for kids to adopt at times. A ketogenic diet necessitates observation by a dietitian.

Surgery

Some people may need surgery to stop the seizures. Surgery involves the removal of a brain area which causes a person to have seizures. Can involve scar tissue, tumour, or other anomalies. Surgery is usually used as a last resort. It should be performed on people who have not responded to drugs, and others who are easily accessible to the cause of the seizures.

Vagus nerve stimulator

A system called a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) may help people who are not candidates for surgery but who do not respond well to their anti-seizure medications.

A VNS is a small device mounted in the chest under the skin, and connected to the neck of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs up to the brain, and the electrical signals generated from the VNS change the brain’s electrical activity causing seizures.

Medications

A number of medications are available which aim to reduce the frequency of seizures. Each of the medications works differently, so a doctor will often prescribe more than one type of anti-convulsant medication.

Medication options include:

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • valproate (Depakote)

When a person is taking anticonvulsant medicine, they should not stop taking it suddenly.

The body has to produce a sufficient amount of anticonvulsant drugs to avoid a seizure. Immediately stopping taking the drug can cause a seizure quickly.

When to see a doctor

An EEG may be used to monitor brain waves for simple seizures.
An EEG may be used to monitor brain waves for simple seizures.

If a person has any signs that may be a simple partial seizure they should seek urgent medical attention.

Often one can misinterpret the symptoms of a simple partial seizure. For example, the signs of simple partial seizure in a child may be misunderstood by a teacher or other school official as laziness in class or failure to pay attention.

A doctor will also diagnose epilepsy taking into account the symptoms of a individual. They’ll ask friends and family about the symptoms they’ve been having.

The health care provider can order tests to rule out other causes. That may require blood testing, liver testing, or thyroid testing.

The doctor might also order a test called an electroencephalogram, or EEG. This study tests and the processing of brain waves. If a person has a seizure when being controlled by an EEG, the doctor may collect more details about the type of seizure.

Doctors can also order image scans such as a CAT scan or an MRI to identify places where seizures may occur.

It is important to remember that all tests, including the doctor’s neurological exam, may be regular, but the patient may still have a seizure disorder or an epilepsy.

Outlook

A critical first step in a person’s diagnosis thought to have had one or more common partial seizures is to decide whether a person has a brain abnormality. This abnormality may be an problem in the brain structure, such as a tumor, or it may be that a particular brain area is electrically abnormal and causes simple partial seizures.

Children with simple partial seizures will sometimes “outgrow” seizures and not experience them as adults.

Others may need to take anti-seizure medications their whole lives.

Simple partial seizures may be managed in a number of ways, such as treating an underlying disorder or administering a particular drug. Simple partial seizures often can signify the start of a more severe (generalized) seizure disorder.

Anyone having any signs of a possible simple partial seizure will have a definitive diagnosis and treatment with their doctor.

Epilepsy

What to know about epilepsy and pregnancy:

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During pregnancy, people with epilepsy may have various symptoms. While some symptoms, such as hormonal changes and increased stress, are uncommon, they can be managed with the right medical care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epilepsy affects around 3.4 million people in the United States. According to researchers, the majority of cases of the disease are caused by hereditary factors. There are, however, a variety of therapies available to help patients manage their epilepsy.

Individuals who have epilepsy and become pregnant should seek medical advice. They can have a healthy pregnancy and birth if they are given the necessary care.

Continue reading to learn more about epilepsy and pregnancy.

Epilepsy and conception 

Epilepsy and conception

There is no evidence that epilepsy makes it more difficult to conceive. Women with and without epilepsy who were trying to conceive were compared in a 2016 studyTrusted Source, and the researchers observed no difference in conception time between the two groups.

Another study published in 2016 in the journal Neurology looked at conception and pregnancy in women with and without epilepsy. There were no significant differences between the two groups, according to the study.

People with epilepsy who want to get pregnant should contact with their doctor for more information.

Epilepsy in a pregnant woman

Those who have epilepsy may have additional health issues during pregnancy. People with the syndrome may have more seizures during pregnancy in various circumstances because:

  • Changes in weight can have an impact on how the body reacts to drugs.
  • Seizures can be triggered by elevated stress levels.
  • Seizures can be exacerbated by hormonal changes.

This is, however, a rare occurrence. Approximately two-thirds of epilepsy people do not have more seizures during pregnancy.

However, it is critical to have regular check-ups with a medical practitioner; regular doctor’s appointments can help lower the risk of seizures.

Drugs and medicines for epilepsy

To treat epilepsy symptoms, a variety of medications are available. The following are some of the most commonly prescribed antiepileptic medications (AEDs):

  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital
  • valproic acid
  • lamotrigine

Various AEDs have been connected by health professionals to certain hazards during pregnancy. Some AEDs, for example, can raise the risk of neurodevelopmental problems.

These dangers, however, are uncommon. As a result, doctors advise that people with epilepsy continue to take AEDs while pregnant.

People with epilepsy should also take folic acid during pregnancy, according to medical experts. For those with the condition, this supplement can lessen the risk of some congenital impairments by up to 86 percent.

Before making any modifications to their AEDs, people with epilepsy should visit their doctor.

Prenatal care

During pregnancy, people with epilepsy require specialized care. These people should be looked after in the following areas.

Counseling and education

During prenatal checkups, individuals with epilepsy should consult a specialised care team. An OBGYN, midwife, neurologist, and mental health counselor could be part of this team.

People with epilepsy can benefit from quality education to help them have a safe and successful pregnancy. Counselors can also assist in keeping track of stress patterns in order to lessen seizure risk.

Checkups on a regular basis

Over 95% of epilepsy-affected pregnant people have a healthy delivery. There is, nevertheless, a tiny risk of certain problems.

Individuals with epilepsy should undergo regular check-ups during pregnancy to avoid this risk. Medical professionals can keep an eye on the fetus to ensure that it develops normally.

Consistent checkups with a solid medical team, like with any pregnancy, are essential.

How to get ready

Education is the most effective strategy for people with epilepsy to prepare for pregnancy. Learning about risk factors, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, is the first step toward managing them.

Individuals should speak with their doctors about how to use AEDs. Take the smallest dosage of AED required to control symptoms, according to healthcare professionals. AED levels in the blood can also be monitored by doctors throughout and after pregnancy.

People with epilepsy should consume a well-balanced diet and keep their stress levels low throughout pregnancy. These tips can assist you in having a healthy pregnancy.

Parental and baby considerations

Being a parent or caregiver with epilepsy can be daunting, and many people worry that their condition will negatively affect their children.

According to studies, parents of children with epilepsy have many of the same concerns. They may be concerned about:

  • not been able to care for their child due to a seizure.
  • as a parent, not being able to achieve their own standards
  • being in need of greater assistance and support than other parents

It is not simple to become a parent or caregiver. Before and throughout pregnancy, all people, regardless of their health, have comparable worries.

Individuals suffering with epilepsy may find solace in devising strategies to address their issues. They may, for example, establish or start a support group for people who have similar concerns, or they could keep a list of phone contacts on hand for case they need a helping hand.

Anxiety and apprehension are common emotions you experience as a parent. While people with epilepsy may have additional concerns, both the parent or caregiver and the newborn can thrive with the correct information and support network.

Delivery and labor

The great majority of epileptic people have a normal labor and delivery experience. For many of these people, the most terrifying aspect of childbirth is experiencing a seizure.

According to studies, 98 percent of people with epilepsy do not have a seizure during delivery. The chance of major problems during labor, on the other hand, is normally low.

Individuals who have epilepsy should, of course, take extra measures when planning their labor and delivery. These can include the following:

  • selecting a medical center that is suited to treat epileptic patients
  • collaborating with a skilled team of medical experts
  • reducing the number of stressors in the delivery room

Making a birth plan can also help to reduce the stress and worry that comes with giving birth. Furthermore, adequate knowledge and support are essential for a healthy labor and delivery experience.

Breastfeeding and postpartum care

Parents with epilepsy may be concerned that nursing will affect their children. AED people can be concerned that their medication would hurt their children.

However, studies have shown that most AEDs are safe to use while nursing. As a result, doctors advise that people who are on AEDs continue to nurse.

Breastfeeding can also aid in the parent-child bonding process. Breastfeeding enhances infant nutrition and the immune system, hence medical specialists advise people with epilepsy to do so if at all possible.

Individuals with epilepsy, in particular, require important postnatal care. It could include the following:

  • analyzing stress levels
  • finding nighttime support to ensure good sleep
  • regular blood tests to check medication levels
  • screening for postpartum depression

Many new parents and caregivers may be concerned about the risks associated with epilepsy. Working with a postnatal care team to alleviate these worries and improve parent and child health is critical.

Conclusion

Certain dangers may exist for epileptic people before, during, and after pregnancy. They can, however, have a healthy labor and delivery with the correct planning and support.

People who have epilepsy should talk to their doctors during their pregnancy. Counseling and education are crucial in their quest to become parents.

People with the condition can have a positive and healthy pregnancy with the right medical treatment and support.

Sources:

  • https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/women/epilepsy-and-pregnancy/after-baby-born
  • https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/march/epilepsy-in-pregnancy/
  • https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/green-top-guidelines/gtg68_epilepsy.pdf
  • https://n.neurology.org/content/86/16_Supplement/I5.001
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/epilepsy-and-pregnancy
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455853/pdf/ndt-11-1291.pdf
  • https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-015-0214-7
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784252/pdf/10.1177_1756285615623934.pdf
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2679319
  • https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/epilepsy-and/women/epilepsy-and-pregnancy/risks-during-pregnancy
  • https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/triggers-seizures/stress-and-epilepsy
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1059131115000485
  • https://www.ilae.org/files/ilaeGuideline/ManagementOfEpilepsyInPregnancy-Tomson-epi.16395.pdf
  • https://www.seizure-journal.com/article/S1059-1311(15)00041-2/fulltext

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Cardiovascular / Cardiology

A new study finds hypertension increases epilepsy risk by 2.5 times

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high blood pressure check
High blood pressure may increase the risk of epilepsy, new research shows.
  • Researchers looked into hypertension and epilepsy.
  • Antihypertensive drugs reduce the risk of epilepsy by roughly 2.5 times.
  • Researchers need to do more research to understand how elevated blood pressure affects epilepsy.

After stroke and dementia, epilepsy is the third most frequent neurological condition that affects the elderly.

Late-onset epilepsy has become increasingly common in the previous two decades, according to research. As the population ages, the number of people suffering from epilepsy is projected to climb, and epilepsy will likely become a major public health condition.

Despite this, the fundamental causes of epilepsy are unknown in 32–48% of patients. According to some evidence, vascular risk factors may raise the likelihood of late-onset epilepsy. Other research suggests that vascular risk factors play a role in epilepsy in people in their 30s.

Understanding the significance of vascular risk factors in late-onset epilepsy could aid policymakers in developing public health initiatives and prevention efforts to reduce and manage the condition’s prevalence.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in the United States recently undertook a study to look at the link between vascular risk factors and epilepsy onset.

They discovered that hypertension was linked to a nearly 2-fold increased incidence of late-onset epilepsy. This risk was even higher for people who did not take blood pressure medication to control it.

The research was published in the journal Epilepsia.

Analyzing data

The Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a community-based study that began in 1948, was utilised by the researchers. Its Offspring Cohort follows the health results of 5,124 of the initial participants’ offspring over the course of four years, based on health examinations.

The researchers collected data from 2,986 people who had their fifth assessment between 1991 and 1995, were at least 45 years old at the time, and had vascular risk factor data in their health records.

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were among the vascular risk indicators gathered. High blood pressure was defined by the researchers as a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher, and a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher, as well as the usage of antihypertensive drugs.

In addition, the researchers looked for:

  • diabetes
  • cholesterol levels
  • smoking status
  • cardiovascular disease
  • stroke
  • body mass index (BMI)

The researchers employed routine record checks for neurological diseases, self-reported seizures, International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes linked to epilepsy or seizures, and antiepileptic drug use to screen subjects for epilepsy or seizures.

To determine cases of epilepsy, the researchers used brain imaging and electroencephalography (EEG), as well as cardiac and other pertinent data.

The study found 55 cases of epilepsy in the group, with 26 cases being confirmed, 15 being probable, and 14 being suspected. At the time of potential diagnosis, the participants were on average 73.8 years old.

Hypertension was linked to a nearly 2-fold increased incidence of epilepsy, according to the study. The other risk factors, on the other hand, had no link to epilepsy.

After removing antihypertensive drugs out of the equation, the researchers discovered that high blood pressure was linked to a 2.44-fold increased risk of having epilepsy.

They also discovered that every 10 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure was linked to a 17 percent increased incidence of epilepsy.

Mechanisms at work

The association between epilepsy and hypertension could be explained by a number of explanations. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates blood pressure, could be one way.

According to studies, rats with repeated seizures had 2.6–8.2 times the components of RAS as mice without seizures. Antihypertensive medications that reduced RAS component levels slowed the onset of seizures and reduced seizure frequency.

More research is needed, however, to determine how much this mechanism explains the link between epilepsy and hypertension, as other research suggests the system may only have a minor impact.

Small vessel disease (SVD), a condition in which the walls of small arteries and capillaries are damaged and consequently do not supply enough oxygen-rich blood to numerous organs, is another likely underlying mechanism, according to the researchers. Scientists discovered that the duration of high blood pressure is a powerful predictor of SVD later in life in a recent study.

SVD has been linked to temporal lobe epilepsy, according to the study. Cortical microinfarcts, minor lesions in cortical tissue, and the disruption of U fibers, which can contribute to excessive excitability and seizures, are all possible explanations. U fibers connect the cerebral cortex’s surrounding sections.

According to the researchers, hypertension is an independent predictor of late-onset epilepsy, with a 2-fold risk of seizures after 45 years.

They do acknowledge, however, that their research has limitations. It is possible that it does not reflect all ethnicities and races because it largely comprised white participants. The researchers also point out that because it is an observational study, it cannot show causation.

Dr. Jason Hauptman, a neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, told Medical News Today, “These results are particularly interesting because whether or not high blood pressure (hypertension) in and of itself is an independent risk factor for stroke has been a topic of controversy,”.  “The thought is that independent of the presence of stroke, hypertension may lead to disease of small arteries throughout the brain that can cause injuries on the microscopic level.”

“These injuries could potentially lead to epilepsy with or without the presence of a visible or symptomatic stroke. This research is important because hypertension is not only common, but it is modifiable – that is, we may have ways of assessing and treating it. This would need to be pursued in larger, more diverse patient populations to fully assess exactly how much this is a risk factor and to test the potential interventions,” he stated.

Sanjay Prasad, M.D., a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London who was not involved in the study, told MNT that the findings were not surprising and that they matched earlier findings.

“This work is observational, so does not confirm that there is a definite direct link. However, it builds on our knowledge base and highlights the importance of lifestyle, regular exercise, and a low salt intake to control blood pressure as an important way of reducing morbidity,” he noted.

“[These results highlight] the need for aggressive control of blood pressure — and encourage everyone —particularly those above the age of 50, to regularly monitor their blood pressure. We also need to assess the impact of blood pressure control in those with epilepsy and after a stroke.”

– Dr. Prasad

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Biology / Biochemistry

How can individuals tell if they’re having a seizure?

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Seizures are caused by an abnormal surge of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be random, but some people have triggers that might cause them. Being aware of possible triggers can assist to reduce the likelihood of experiencing them.

Seizures are sudden, brief changes in movement, behavior, sensation, or states of consciousness caused by aberrant electrical discharges in the brain. Seizure symptoms range depending on which parts of the brain are affected and how severe they are.

Seizures are classified by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) depending on the kind of onset or where they begin in the brain.

Seizures can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, brain damage, or underlying illnesses. Seizure triggers do not cause seizures, but they can cause them in people who are prone to them.

Stress, fatigue, and the lack of medications are all typical factors. Knowing what might cause seizures and how to avoid them will help you avoid them.

In this post, we will look at some of the most frequent seizure triggers, the distinction between causes and triggers, and how to detect probable triggers.

Common triggers

Epileptic Patient

Some people with epilepsy, especially those who have experienced recurring seizures, may observe that they happen in predictable patterns or in certain people. These variables, often known as seizure triggers, may increase the likelihood of seizures. Some people with epilepsy, on the other hand, may not have any triggers. Seizures can be triggered by a variety of triggers, including:

Missed medications

Anti-epileptic medications must be taken on a regular basis to maintain a constant amount of medication in the body. A person’s risk of seizures increases if they miss a dosage, and seizures become more severe or occur more frequently as a result.

If you don’t take them as directed, you might develop status epilepticus, a long-term seizure that doctors consider a medical emergency.

Sleep deprivation and tiredness

According to a 2020 research, seizures and sleep have a bidirectional link, with seizures causing sleep deprivation and sleep deprivation triggering seizures. During typical sleep-wake cycles, changes in the brain’s electrical and hormonal activity occur, which may contribute to seizures and affect their intensity and length.

Stress

Seizures are frequently triggered by stress. However, the actual nature of their relationship remains unknown. Everyone reacts to stress differently, and stress can take many forms. A person may get stressed as a result of big life events or a pile of everyday annoyances.

Stress may have a physical impact on the body, resulting in a loss of sleep, a shift in dietary habits, and the use of alcohol or other substances, all of which can lead to seizures.

Alcohol

Small quantities of alcohol are unlikely to cause seizures. Even for people who do not have epilepsy, consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time might trigger a seizure.

When the effects of alcohol on the body start to wear off, alcohol-related seizures become more likely. They can happen anywhere between 6 and 72 hours after drinking. Alcohol can also impair sleep and interfere with medicines, raising the chance of a seizure.

Flashing lights

Flashing lights or contrasting patterns might trigger a seizure in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Photosensitive seizures affect only around 3% of epilepsy people. This variety appears to be more frequent in females and younger people, according to evidence.

Nutrition and deficiencies

If a diabetic suffers from severe hypoglycemia, which can develop as a result of missing meals, their extremely low blood sugar levels might trigger a seizure.

Vitamin and mineral deficits can also cause seizures in certain people. Vitamin B6 deficiency can trigger seizures in newborns, however it is less prevalent in adults. Mineral imbalances, such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, can cause seizures by altering brain cell electrical activity.

Infection and illness

Seizures might be triggered by illness in certain people. This might be caused by the illness’s physical impact on the body, a lack of sleep, bad dietary habits, certain drugs, or dehydration.

Seizures are frequently caused by a viral infection of the central nervous system. Seizures can be triggered by common ailments like sinus infections or a cold in rare cases.

Menstruation

Catamenial epilepsy is a kind of epilepsy in which seizures become worse or more common during specific people of the menstrual cycle. This is extremely uncommon, and research shows that it is caused by variations in progesterone and estrogen levels.

Weather

According to a 2017 research, low pressure and excessive humidity might trigger seizures. Although there isn’t conclusive evidence that weather has an influence on seizure risk.

Seizures are more common in the winter, according to a 2018 research. However, according to a survey conducted by the Epilepsy Society, extreme heat can provoke breakthrough episodes in well-controlled seizures and make uncontrolled seizures more severe and intense. This suggests that extremes in temperature might produce physiological changes that lead to seizures.

Certain medications

Seizures may be triggered by several over-the-counter drugs. Antidepressants, stimulants, tramadol, and isoniazid are among the drugs that have been linked to seizures in certain people, according to a 2016 research.

Triggers vs. causes

The cause of epilepsy is unknown in two out of every three people . It can, however, be caused by genetic problems or brain ailments including stroke, traumatic brain damage, infections, or other neurological diseases.

Although a seizure can be triggered by a trigger, seizure triggers are not the same as seizure causes. A stressful circumstance, for example, might provoke a seizure, but the underlying cause of the seizure could be brain structural damage.

Because seizures are unpredictable, it may be difficult to figure out why they happen, and some people mistakenly believe that triggers like exhaustion are to blame. However, it’s more likely that the person was already predisposed, and the trigger just triggered a seizure in someone who was already vulnerable.

Reflex seizures

Seizures are typically unpredictable and can happen at any time. While some people may identify triggers, many people’s triggers are more general, such as stress or exhaustion. Other people, on the other hand, may have reflex seizures, which are seizures that occur on a regular basis as a result of particular and recognizable stimuli or cognitive processes.

Potential stimuli, such as seeing flashing lights or touching hot water, or interior stimuli, such as feeling particular emotions or going through specific mental processes, can all cause reflex seizures. This is quite uncommon.

How to Recognize Triggers

Identification of a person’s particular seizure triggers can be challenging and time-consuming. A seizure diary can be kept to record actions or events that lead up to a seizure. Over time, a pattern may emerge, exposing likely seizure triggers.

A person should try to manage their condition and prevent or decrease exposure to potential triggers while seeking to identify likely triggers. People can attempt the following suggestions:

  • taking medication as their doctor prescribes
  • getting enough and regular sleep
  • lowering stress

Conclusion

Stimuli that can induce a seizure in some people are known as seizure triggers. Individual triggers vary, but common ones include illness, tiredness, alcohol, and a lack of medication.

Triggers are not the same as causes. Seizures are frequently caused by underlying conditions, whereas triggers simply cause seizures in people who are already predisposed to them.

People may find it difficult to identify their own specific triggers, but maintaining a journal of possible triggers and avoiding certain stimuli may help prevent seizures.

Sources

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  • https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Epilepsies-and-Seizures-Hope-Through
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204538/
  • https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-05080-5_21
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430686/
  • https://aepi.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42494-020-00022-0

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