Veterinarian Reviewed on June 22, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
What are Seizures?
Dysfunction of the electrical system of the body may cause seizures. Normally, a multitude of tiny electrical signals are generated by the nerve cells of the brain or other body parts. So a seizure can be defined as a short temporary disturbance of the electrical system of the brain similar to power outage.
What Causes Seizures?
Causes of a seizure may be diverse. The irregular electrical flow of the brain may be due to infection, low blood sugar, poisoning, head injury, or even a d r u g overdose. Serious medical condition such as a brain tumor or oxygen deficiency may also result in a seizure.
Diagnosis of a seizure depends on the symptoms, a physical check up and medical background of the patient. Various tests may be done, including:
• Electroencephalogram (EEG)
• CT scan or MRI scan
• Blood tests
• Lumbar puncture
• Toxicology screening
Signs and Symptoms of Seizures
Seizures are manifested by uncontrollable changes in body movement, behavioral changes, consciousness or sensitivity. Before a seizure takes place there is a precondition known as an aura –unusual smells, tastes or sensations. After a seizure a person usually suffers a headache, confusion, tiredness, sore muscles and again unusual sensations- a state referred to as a postictal state. If a seizure recurs, the condition is categorized as epilepsy. An epileptic seizure, also called a fit, is a transient symptom of abnormal excessive activity in the brain. The visible effect can be as dramatic as a wild thrashing movement (tonic-clonic seizure) or as mild as a brief loss of awareness (absence seizure).
It can manifest as an alteration in tonic or clonic movements, mental state, convulsions, and various psychic symptoms. At times it is not accompanied by convulsions but a full body slump, where the person simply loses body control and slumps to the ground. The medical syndrome of recurrent, unprovoked seizures is diagnosed as epilepsy, but seizures can also occur in people who do not have epilepsy. Statistically, about 4% of people will go through an unprovoked seizure by the age of 80 and the chance of experiencing a second seizure is between 30% and 50%. Treatment practices may reduce the chance of a second one by as much as half. Most single episode seizures are managed by primary care physicians (emergency or general practitioners), whereas investigation and management of ongoing epilepsy is usually done by consultants in neurology. Difficult cases of epilepsy may require consultation with an epileptologist-a neurologist with an interest in epilepsy.
Classical Treatment of Seizures
Simple partial seizures do not necessitate emergency response, but complex partial seizures are symptomatically treated with adequate medicines. Such medications include anti-epileptic d r u g s and anti-convulsants, which minimize the onset and severity of seizures. These d r u g s effectively treat symptoms of the seizure, but on the other hand cause some adverse effects such as vertigo, trembling and stuttering, moodiness, confusion and depression, appetite loss, weight variations, skin responses, digestion problems and even hair loss.
Holistic Treatment of Seizures
However, the same treatment effect can be achieved with some herbal and homeopathic preparations. These natural formulas contain a mixture of safe herbal ingredients which do not cause unwanted or dangerous side effects. The two well known herbs, Passiflora or Passion flower and Scutellaria laterifolia or Scullcap, have excellent soothing properties and can prevent seizures. Moreover, homeopathic components such as Cuprum metallicum (30C) and Cicuta virosa (30C) can help keep seizures under control as well as alleviate symptoms of sleepiness, vomiting and breathing problems.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan