Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy Related Conditions | February 2, 2017

In chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, the coexistence of more than one illness in a patient is the rule rather than the exception…

Men and women with epilepsy have a two-to five-fold increase in the occurrence of conditions, such as migraine, cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disorders, along with gastrointestinal disorders, pulmonary disorders, dementia, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, anxiety, and personality disorders.

The type and prevalence of conditions is largely age dependent.  For example, among epilepsy patients, asthma is common among the young, while cardiovascular diseases and stroke are prevalent in older individuals—but both occur more frequently than in the general population.

Below is a sampling of some of the conditions which are related (but not necessarily caused) by epilepsy…

Epilepsy and Heart Disease

The neural activity that accompanies seizures has long been known to affect cardiac functioning. But in patients with nonconvulsive types of epilepsy, these secondary symptoms may be misread as the primary illness.

Five specific cardiac problems have been linked to epilepsy: irregular heartbeat, anginal chest pain, pulmonary edema, symptoms of a tumor linked to hypertension — and sudden death. This is because the areas of the brain affected by epileptic episodes are linked to the hypothalamus, the section of the brain that affects the autonomic nervous system.

People with epilepsy are two to three times more likely to suffer sudden death than the general population. Up to 30% of those deaths cannot be explained. Doctors suspect epilepsy-related cardiac troubles as a major cause due to death of the muscular tissues in the heart.

Diabetes

A diabetic seizure occurs as a result of a burst of simultaneous, contradictory signals from brain cells.  There are many causes of seizures including head trauma, fever, illness.  Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) and hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) both can cause seizure, convulsion, coma, and even death.

People with the tendency to have seizures are more likely to have one triggered by fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Persons with hyperglycemia tend to have focal or local seizures, whereas those who are hypoglycemic, tend to have tonic-clonic seizures, also called a hypoglycemic-induced seizure.

Infection

A seizure complication of infection can consist of a single seizure or can go on to become a chronic epilepsy. Seizures can arise as an acute, subacute, or long-term consequence of an infectious state. The type of epileptic complication and when it arises depends on the nature of the infectious illness, its duration, plus the type and extent of damage to the central nervous system.

Inflammatory Disorders

Inflammatory disorders are characterized by their systemic effects. The immune response to these illnesses may cause dysfunction in tissues other than the typically affected organs.

When the central nervous system is involved, a wide range of neurologic symptoms occurs, including epileptic seizures as well as headaches, confusion, and coma. Seizures or other neurologic abnormalities sometimes may be the initial or even the only manifestation of a systemic inflammatory disorder.

Migraines

These headaches, with no identifiable underlying cause includes migraines as well as tension-type headaches, cluster headaches and a number of rare disorders.  It is analogous to idiopathic epilepsy and individuals with one disorder are at least twice as likely to have the other.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are common, treatable conditions that frequently coexist with epilepsy. Understanding the relationship between epilepsy and sleep disorders is important for optimum results.

Treatment of a coexisting sleep disorder may improve seizure control, daytime alertness, or both. However, sleep disorders such as sleepwalking, nocturnal panic disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, may actually mimic epileptic seizures.

What is Your Disorder?

You may, yourself, suffer from an epilepsy related condition.  The names and numbers of these illnesses are vast.  If there’s something I’ve omitted which you would like to include, please, feel free to chime in!

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2096724/

http://www.isletsofhope.com/diabetes/complications/seizures_1.html

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/730022

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728482/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21518343

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977596/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378051/

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/record/archives/vol20/vol20_iss16/record2016.15.html

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/disease-and-sleep/epilepsy

http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/impact/sleep-and-epilepsy/sleep-disorders

 


6 Comments »

  1. My question is rather than saying we all will have MORE medical conditions later in life due to seizures we have, Why not find out WHY those conditions happen ? TEGRETOL as an example made my hearth beat more than 250 X’s a minute, and YES I have major heart problems. Leave it to me then to go to a public library, & read in the RED JOURNAL OF MEDICINE BOOK that all doctors then had a copy of in 1990, as it said about TEGRETOL,,, Too much in a persons system can cause a IRREGULAR AND RAPID HEART BEAT,, and possible SEIZURES. Oh Really ? Doctors today still prescribe TEGRETOL after knowing for years what it can do to a persons heart & brain, & FDA keeps it on their drug market. DILANTIN can stop the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM from working like it should, as does every AED with MAGNESIUM STEARATE in those drugs. A SEIZURE PREVENTION TIP… If the bowel / digestive track is not a normal working organ in a human body where the brain can have seizures of that body, then expect more seizures as the toxins from the foods eventually goes to the brain than out of the body like the should. MAGNESIUM STEARATE & other additives in drugs & foods allows us to have MORE seizures. The drugs are worthless and they all know that. A persons brain will not lie if you really search & look for the answer/s that I have not found all of yet.

    Like

    Comment by C D — February 2, 2017 @ 5:13 PM

  2. Bravo for your post C D! And no, I don’t think we’ll ever find all the answers. But we can at least try. 🙂

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 2, 2017 @ 5:41 PM

  3. when I went to osu hosp.the 31st, they wanted me to have a seizure. That night it was awful, I had them all night they didn,t clam down until 1:00 in the morning.When the doctor,s looked at my eeg,I knew I had aura,s but I was getting headachs before I got one.There putting me on Magnesiun oxide. To see if it work,s If it work,s than what they were thinking it was. Than I may have an answer to whyI get headches before I seizure.

    Like

    Comment by Michele Metzger — February 2, 2017 @ 9:45 PM

  4. Michele, so you had migraines and then seizures. Is that right?

    You might want to take a look at the article Epilepsy & Migraines — Kissing Cousins. It could explain a lot.

    https://epilepsytalk.com/2010/09/12/epilepsy-migraines-kissing-cousins/

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 3, 2017 @ 9:17 AM

  5. I take so much tegretol +other meds my brain stopped working:( Dumb to life !!! Sorry Dr. Don’t know what to do … Started when I was 16 now 55 ….
    And Iam still having seizures . Ohh well I don’t care…

    Like

    Comment by Sonia — February 7, 2017 @ 5:41 PM

  6. Sonia, have you considered The Vagus Nerve Stimulation?

    (VNS) has been used to treat more than 30,000 epilepsy patients worldwide.

    It’s designed to prevent or interrupt seizures or electrical disturbances in the brain for people with hard to control seizures.

    Used in conjunction with anti-seizure medications, the VNS uses electrical pulses that are delivered to the vagus nerve in the neck and travel up into the brain.

    It’s not clear how this inhibits seizures, but the device can reduce seizures by 20 to 40% and completely control seizures in about 5% of people.

    If you want to read more about it, take a look at this article:

    Vagus Nerve Stimulation…Is it for YOU?

    https://epilepsytalk.com/2011/03/13/vagus-nerve-stimulation%E2%80%A6is-it-for-you/

    I hope this is of some help.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 8, 2017 @ 10:03 AM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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