Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal activity in the brain, triggering seizures. Now, what happens in the human body when a seizure occurs?
“Our whole body is an electrical system. We’re communicating through the nerves, and they’re electrical, and your brain is the main generator,” Glenna Tolbert, assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, told SELF.
“A seizure happens when there’s a misfiring of your nerve cells and the electric activity in the brain is disrupted. It could be temporary, or it could be a chronic problem,” she explained. So when a person experiences multiple seizures that are not tied to a specific cause, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy.
To help manage the condition, you may be prescribed medications such as Tegretol, Carbatrol, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. Make sure you take them as prescribed, which means you should avoid changing the dosage yourself. If you have any concerns about your medication, speak to your doctor first.
It is a good idea for epilepsy patients to limit alcohol intake to just a drink or two. When you consume too much alcohol, the inevitable withdrawal may lead to a seizure. And another reason for moderation? High alcohol intake and seizure medication is a risky combination — this may cause dangerous side effects such as rapid intoxication.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that brain injuries are a common cause of epilepsy. Take steps to protect yourself by wearing seatbelts and helmets to reduce the chance of severe injury.
Most of us know that bright, flashing lights can be a trigger, which backs up the recommendation to avoid any such visual stimuli and even reduce screen time as much as possible. But what are some other potential triggers to be aware of?
Seizures are also very sensitive to sleep patterns. In some cases, a long period of poor sleep or staying up all night just once may trigger the first and only seizure a person experiences.
But when you are diagnosed with epilepsy, it becomes all the more important to follow a regular sleep schedule. As the guidelines say, make sure you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Last but not least, try your best to avoid too much mental or emotional strain. Stress reduction methods “could improve overall quality of life and reduce seizure frequency at little to no risk” in patients with epilepsy, according to Heather McKee, of the University of Cincinnati.
You may consider joining a support group to meet other people diagnosed with the condition. While mindfulness therapy is another option, you can also start with simpler techniques like deep breathing, outdoor walks, or personalized self-care activities.
“Any patient reporting stress as a seizure trigger should be screened for a treatable mood disorder, especially considering that mood disorders are so common within this population,” McKee added.
SOURCE: MedicalDaily.com by S. Bharanidharan
A recently published report describes the case of a 16-year-old male patient who experienced a breakthrough seizure following ingestion of an energy drink and highlights the importance of recognizing drug-herb interactions and properly counseling patients on them.
The patient, who had been seizure-free for 2 years, presented to the emergency department after experiencing a breakthrough seizure. His history was significant for generalized epilepsy, which was maintained on divalproex extended-release 1000mg daily. The patient did not take any other medications, vitamins, or supplements, but reported having an energy drink, Genesis, 2 times a day for the past 2 months.
A blood test conducted in the emergency room revealed that the patient’s valproic acid (VPA) trough level was significantly reduced (10µg/mL; normal: 50-100µg/mL). The patient’s parents stated that the patient did not miss a dose of his medication and denied any changes to his lifestyle. Because of this, a drug-herb interaction between his medication and his energy drink was suspected to be the cause of his breakthrough seizure. At this time, the epileptologist recommended discontinuing his energy drink, and, 2 months later, the patient’s VPA level normalized. He has since remained seizure-free.
According to the Drug Interaction Probability Scale, a probable drug-herb interaction existed between the patient’s medication and the energy drink. Following a review of the ingredients, it was found that the mechanism of the interaction was likely due to herbs that contain flavonoids present in the drink.
“Although the literature suggests a potential beneficial effect of flavonoids in epilepsy, flavonoids are also known as potential inhibitors of monocarboxylate transporters expressed in the small intestines,” the study authors explained. They added, “Thus, we consider the most likely cause of the lowering serum concentration of VPA, which resulted in the breakthrough seizure, is the inhibition of VPA by flavonoids.”
This case report highlights adverse outcomes associated with unexpected drug-herb interactions. It is imperative for healthcare providers to not only identify potential interactions between medications and herbal products, but to counsel patients on these interactions to avoid any serious adverse reactions as well.
Source: empr.com by C. Pardini, PharmD
An epileptic seizure may be highly local, but it also influences brain activity at a distance of over ten centimeters from the core. This, in turn, affects the active area, scientists of the University of Twente and the University of Chicago show in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The area in which an epileptic seizure starts in the brain, may be small but it reaches other parts of the brain at distances of over 10 centimeters. That distant activity, in turn, influences the epileptic core, according to mathematicians and neurologists of the University of Twente and the University of Chicago. (more…)
A new study published in Epilepsia found that although most newly diagnosed cases of epilepsy in older adults are treated appropriately with monotherapy, only half of those patients receive treatment within the recommended time frame, and a substantial portion were prescribed older antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) despite recommendations to use newer AEDs in this population. (more…)
BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) comprises 30% of all partial epilepsies; it can masquerade as a primary psychiatric condition or be co-morbid with a psychiatric illness. (more…)