Ep 57 Seizures and Epilepsy

Contributors: Michael Yu and Dr. Emran of Simple Health Radio

On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran describes an interesting case involving a young child named “Mary”. Mary was a 9-year-old Caucasian female who was brought to the ER by her mother.

The mother described a scary event at home that occurred less than 2 hours prior to arrival.

Mary was on her way to the bathroom when she began acting strangely. Mary began repeating words that didn’t make any sense, collapsed on the ground, and started moving her arms and legs in a violent manner. The episode lasted about 1 minute, after which the girl exhibited completely ordinary behavior. However, Mary had no idea what happened.

Based on the description and history, Dr. Emran concluded correctly that Mary had a seizure.

Seizures are actually a very common medical issue. They occur when a person’s brain is overloaded with too many electrical impulses or “short circuits”. This leads to a temporary loss of control over bodily functions.

Seizures often occur in seemingly healthy individuals and can affect people of all ages.

In Mary’s case, this was her first seizure, also known as a “new-onset seizure”. Dr. Emran explains that the seizure itself is a medical disorder and if it continues to occur regularly, the condition would be diagnosed as “epilepsy”.

Dr. Emran followed through with an ER workup for new-onset seizures, which includes a series of tests to determine the cause of the disorder. The tests for Mary included evaluations of her neurological condition, immune system, electrolyte balance, and cardiology testing.

Thankfully, the workup did not find anything wrong with Mary. However, the question remained: What caused the seizure?

Mary and her mother were informed of the situation. Dr. Emran explained that although Mary is apparently healthy, there’s still a chance she would experience another seizure at some point in the future. He recommended the mother to consult a neurologist, who would use an EEG (electroencephalogram) to monitor Mary’s brain waves and hopefully determine the cause of her condition.

Dr. Emran elaborates that oftentimes, medications can effectively treat seizures by reducing electrical activity in the brain. Sometimes some medications will have side effects such as drowsiness. People who take medication for seizures also experience a lifestyle change. Those with epilepsy can drive if they go a certain period of time without seizures.

Seizures have many forms, ranging from a blank stare to physical convulsions. An important point to take away from this episode is that seizures are far more common than most realize, we should understand and remain aware of the condition.

If you have any concerns about a seizure, always call 911 and go to the nearest ER for testing.

 

References

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/nervous_system_disorders/evaluation_of_first-time_seizure_135,4

http://columbianeurology.org/neurology/staywell/document.php?id=42140

 

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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Dr. Emran and Simple Health Radio do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, consults, or any other information that may be mentioned on this website or radio podcast.

All images are from Adobe Stock and subject to copyright laws.

 

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