3 Common Seizure Triggers

3 Common Seizure Triggers

Pamela Bandelaria |Apr 5, 2022

What Triggers Seizures?

Seizures are one of the most well-documented symptoms everyone is familiar with. It is one of the symptoms commonly shown in movies and shows and the most common acute neurologic problem in the U.S. Data shows that around 1 in 10 people will have a seizure not caused by an injury, such as a concussion, illness, or infection. This might make you ask, “What triggers seizures?” First, you need to understand that recurrent seizures, also known as epilepsy, is the third most common serious neurologic disorder and occurs in 1 in 26 people. Around 3.4 million Americans live with this condition.

Although many people know what a seizure is, not everyone knows what to do when it happens, and even fewer know that some seizures can be anticipated or preempted. Knowing when a seizure will occur is important to prepare appropriately, and in some cases, even prevent seizures from happening. This article will discuss what a seizure is, what the symptoms of a seizure are and what triggers seizures.

What is a Seizure?

The brain, comprising of nerve cells, communicates and functions by transmitting electrical activity from one nerve cell to another. This is how we are able to think, move and feel. When there is a disruption in electrical activity, this can affect our thoughts, feelings and movements. A seizure is an uncontrolled surge of electrical activity by the brain, which leads to changes in consciousness and involuntary movement of our muscles.

Seizures not only disrupt electrical activity but also disrupt oxygen transport and delivery. This is why, even though seizures usually resolve on their own, the aim is to prevent them from happening. Repeated seizures and seizures that occur for a prolonged period of time can lead to irreversible complications. The brain is one of the organs that continuously needs oxygen, and permanent brain damage can be observed in just minutes without an adequate oxygen supply. In severe cases, this can be life-threatening.

Seizure Symptoms

Seizures may present in various ways. The classic presentation of a person experiencing a seizure includes:

  • Eyes that are rolled upward.
  • Arms and legs exhibiting stiffening or jerking movements. This is due to the disruption in brain activity, which affects the muscles of the body.
  • Sitting still and staring.
  • Small, twitching movements in the fingers or face.
  • A sudden stop in breathing or changes in breathing patterns.
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control, which can lead someone to soiling themselves.

What Triggers a Seizure?

Once a seizure begins, there is little that can be done except wait for the seizure to cease or take the person to a nearest health facility. However, some seizures are more likely to occur under certain circumstances, wherein a pattern can be noted. In some cases, these situations can trigger a seizure, with increased chances of it happening. For people who have recurrent seizures, identifying these seizure triggers is helpful in seeing if a seizure might possibly happen and when these factors are removed, can the seizure be prevented. The following section discusses some common seizure triggers.

1. Stress

Although there are still debates as to whether or not stress can really trigger seizures, it is one of the most common factors perceived by people who experience recurrent seizures. Studies show that during periods of stress, there is an increase in the frequency of seizures experienced by patients with epilepsy. It is hypothesized that it can be due to the release of cortisol, which has excitatory properties that can further contribute to the occurrence of seizures.

2. Sleep Problems

Sleep problems have also been considered as another seizure trigger. Lack of sleep and disrupted sleep were found to contribute to occurrence of seizures, even in the absence of other triggers or factors. Poor quality of sleep has also been perceived by patients to trigger some seizures, although data is not as strong compared to quantity of sleep. Sleep deprivation as a seizure trigger is due to its effect on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. Some studies show that treatment of sleep problems also results in fewer occurrences of seizures.

3. Flashing Lights and Bright Lights

Exposure to bright lights or flashes of light can also cause seizures. This occurs in around
3% of people with epilepsy. This kind of epilepsy is called photosensitive epilepsy.

Examples of light sources that can trigger seizures include:

  • Light from television screens or computer monitors.
  • Strobe lights.
  • Flashing lights in vehicles.
  • Natural light or sunlight.

Avoiding these can be helpful in reducing the occurrence of seizures in susceptible patients.

When seeing a seizure, it can look scary at first. Most people panic when they see someone experiencing a seizure episode. However, knowing how to deal with this medical situation and knowing how to identify seizure triggers can be extremely helpful and lifesaving.

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John David Abundo | April 5, 2022

Symptoms of Poor Circulation In this article, we will focus on the symptoms of poor circulation and when you should seek medical help. Signs of Poor Circulation 1. Varicose Veins If the valves in the veins of the legs are damaged, your blood will find it difficult to get back to the heart. This results in engorged veins and will eventually cause varicosities in the legs. Varicose veins are more common to those who regularly stand for long periods. 2. Painful Muscle Cramping The most common symptom of poor circulation is claudication, described as muscle discomfort or painful cramping, particularly in the legs. This is felt when you exercise or walk and usually disappears after resting your legs. The muscles that are most involved are the hips, thighs or calves. Claudication happens if there is a hindrance to the normal blood flow. For example, in atherosclerosis, where there is a buildup of cholesterol plaques in the blood vessels, the muscles cannot get enough blood during physical activity. The cramping pain is the muscle’s way of warning you that it is not getting enough blood during exercise to meet its increased demand. 3. Numbness or Weakness Reduced blood flow to different body parts may cause slow and irreversible damage to the nerves, which may be felt as tingling, numbness or weakness in that area. This is particularly alarming because having numbness on the extremities decreases your skin’s sensitivity to pain. As a result, there may be instances where your skin has already been damaged or wounded, but you cannot feel it. 4. Temperature Differences in the Extremities Poor circulation can lead to fluctuations in your skin’s temperature regulation. For example, reduced blood flow to your hands or feet may make them colder than the other parts of your body. To assess the temperature of your skin, you can use the back of your hands for a more accurate assessment. 5. Wounds That Do Not Heal or Heal Slowly Wounds heal by the different components and cells delivered through the bloodstream to the affected area. When blood flow is compromised, the healing process takes much longer and may even lead to infections. Even the slightest break in the skin may lead to catastrophic changes that could lead to amputation, especially in people with diabetes. 6. Change of Skin Color When there is insufficient blood flow, the skin may appear pale or blue (cyanosis). The change of color in the skin indicates that the oxygen-rich blood is unable to reach those tissues. The commonly affected body parts that may have this symptom are the toes, fingers, palms, soles and lips. [youmaylike] 7. Poor Hair or Nail Growth Hair and nails need the nutrients in your body to keep them healthy. Nutrients are delivered to the hair and nails through the blood. Therefore, any blockage or hindrance of the normal circulation of blood may affect the growth of healthy hair and nails, which can lead to hair loss or poor nail growth. 8. Shiny Skin on Legs Shiny skin on the legs can indicate that the skin stretched due to excess fluids in the legs. Poor circulation can cause blood pooling in the legs, resulting in fluid leakage from the blood vessels to the surrounding tissues. In turn, the skin will stretch, giving it a shiny appearance. 9. Weak Pulses When blood flow is restricted, the usual, brisk pulses on the extremities become weaker. Doctors usually include this in their physical examination to rule out any peripheral arterial disease. 10. Erectile Dysfunction in Men The penis is made up mostly of blood vessels. Penile erection happens because the arteries of the penis are filled up with blood to elongate and stiffen the organ. When there is poor circulation, blood cannot fill up the blood vessels in the penis. Most cases of impotence are a complication primarily of the arterial system. What is Poor Circulation? Poor circulation is not a condition in itself, but having any of its symptoms may indicate more serious conditions, such as: Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Uncontrolled diabetes. Blood clots. Atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in the vessels). Heart conditions. Having poor circulation may not be apparent initially. Still, whether you experience symptoms or not, it is important to be aware of them early on to help detect the underlying cause. For example, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity are all factors that increase the likelihood of a person experiencing poor circulation symptoms. In Review The symptoms of poor circulation may vary for each person. In general, conditions that cause poor circulation are easier to treat when your doctor detects it early. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that it may be caused by a dysfunction in your normal blood circulation, it is essential that you see your doctor for assessment and treatment right away.

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Sinead Carey | April 5, 2022

What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy? The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary wildly from person to person. It is essential to be aware of the common symptoms and the possible and rare symptoms. So, what are the symptoms of pregnancy? We will dive into the specifics. Common Symptoms of Pregnancy 1. Missed Period Missing your period is most often the first sign of pregnancy. Your body recognizes the conception and stops making the hormone that sheds the lining of your womb. Your menstrual cycle is essentially paused, and you won’t have another period until after the baby is born. 2. Morning Sickness Contrary to what is shown on TV, morning sickness can also happen at noon and night. Feeling nauseous and vomiting is a normal part of early pregnancy. It is most common in the morning, and this is what coined the term. 3. Overtiredness or Fatigue You know the feeling when you sleep well but still feel tired? That is fatigue, and it is common in early pregnancy. Experts say this is due to the rise of hormone levels. This feeling tends to improve over time. 4. Frequent Urination Are you going to the bathroom every 10 minutes? This is another sign of pregnancy. Your body’s blood supply increases to support the new life, which means your kidneys must work harder. More waste plus more urine equals extra trips to the bathroom. 5. Aching Breasts Your breasts may start to feel sore and tender. You may have felt this before during your period, or it could be a completely new experience. This feeling is due to your fluctuating hormone levels and should fade with time. Some people describe this as an aching or tingling feeling. You might also experience a slight enlargement of your breasts. 6. Mild Cramps and Spotting Don’t panic if you see you have light spotting or cramping in the first few weeks. Spotting can indicate that the embryo has implanted in the lining of your womb. Implantation usually takes place a few days after you conceive and can cause blood spots or brown discharge. This symptom is crucial to know about, as it causes many people to believe they are not pregnant. If you are concerned or the bleeding persists, speak to your doctor without delay. 7. Headaches Persistent headaches can be a sign of so many things. That is why people don’t recognize them as a sign of pregnancy. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, there may be more to it than you think. Make sure you find a headache treatment option that safe for you. 8. Metallic Taste in Mouth Some people experience a metallic, coppery taste during early pregnancy. It can happen when eating or at seemingly random times throughout the day. Again, people do not consistently recognize the taste as a possibility of pregnancy. 9. Changes in Food Preferences This symptom varies from person to person, and some don’t experience it at all! You may crave certain foods; you may feel sick after certain foods; you can have a complete aversion to food altogether. Nutrition during pregnancy is important, and you should discuss this symptom with your doctor. [youmaylike] Rare Symptoms of Pregnancy Other symptoms that are rare but could affect you are: Heightened sense of smell. Heart palpitations. Increased saliva production (more drool). Nosebleeds. Swollen gums or tooth problems. More pimples or acne. Hot sweats. Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable? The sure-fire way to know if you are pregnant is to take an at-home test. These tests are reliable, and though false positives occur, it is rare. Always check the label, as different brands show different symbols to indicate pregnancy. The tests generally take a few minutes to develop, and digital tests can even display the word pregnant. When Should You Talk to a Doctor If You Think You’re Pregnant? If you suspect that you are pregnant, have a positive test result or are currently trying to get pregnant, the next step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will want to take a complete medical history, and if you are already pregnant, they may prescribe prenatal medication. The doctor can guide you on the steps throughout the pregnancy and lend an ear if you have any questions. It is vital to discuss everything with a medical professional. Your doctor is the gateway to an informed and happy pregnancy.

8 Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Sinead Carey | April 5, 2022

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy Pregnancy can be an exciting and life-changing event in a person’s life. However, it also comes with many risks and challenges. So, while focusing on the positive aspects of the process is important, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible complications, such as the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an ectopic pregnancy should be considered an emergency and is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the first trimester. Though the occurrence can be difficult to measure, the March of Dimes estimates that 1 in 50 pregnancies in the U.S. is ectopic. Considering that just under 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, this is a significant number of people suffering from it. Though this is something no one wants to think about, recognizing the signs of an ectopic pregnancy can mean the difference between life and death. What is an Ectopic Pregnancy? The word ectopic means “out of place.” Therefore, an ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg forms in the wrong place — in other words, outside of the womb. Most ectopic pregnancies are defined as “tubular” because more than 90% of ectopic cases happen in the fallopian tubes. In a normal pregnancy, the sperm and egg meet, become fertilized and travel down to attach to the lining of your womb. This is where your baby will grow for nine months. In a tubular pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tube before it manages to reach the womb. It is also possible for an ectopic pregnancy to occur in the ovary, cervix or even somewhere else in your belly. The problem is that these areas don’t have space or the environment to promote your baby’s growth. As a result, an ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding or a burst fallopian tube, which is potentially fatal to the mother. The unfortunate truth is that all ectopic pregnancies are non-viable and end in the loss of the pregnancy. 8 Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy In some cases of ectopic pregnancy, the mother may not be aware that they are pregnant. However, signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can start the same as signs of a normal pregnancy, so it is vital to be aware of them. Signs and symptoms include: Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Sudden pain in the abdomen or pelvis. Cramping pains in the pelvis. Lower back pain. Tender breasts. Nausea and vomiting. Dizziness and fainting spells. Shoulder pain. [youmaylike] Causes and Risk Factors It is still not known why some people suffer from ectopic pregnancies and others don’t. However, there are many risk factors known to increase your chances of having an ectopic pregnancy. Risk factors: Aged 35 years or older. Smoker. Previous ectopic pregnancy. Fertility treatments, such as IVF. Pelvic inflammatory disease. Scarring from prior pelvic surgery. Fertility drugs to treat infertility. Pregnancy while using an intrauterine device (IUD). Treatments Options There are two main approaches to the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy. Medication This form of treatment is less common and can only be done in certain situations. However, as an ectopic pregnancy is potentially fatal, it often requires rapid and comprehensive treatment. Medication can be effective if it is caught before the pregnancy is too far along. Your doctor will also ensure that there has been no rupture or immediate risk of a rupture. The primary medication used to treat ectopic pregnancies is methotrexate. This drug works by stopping the cells from growing. Your body will absorb the pregnancy over the course of a few weeks, and it does not require any surgery if it is successful. Surgery More often than not, emergency surgery is required. For example, in the event that your tube has ruptured, you will be required to undergo immediate surgery. This type of surgery is usually done laparoscopically, which is another word for keyhole surgery. The ectopic pregnancy is removed during surgery. In some cases, it may also be necessary to remove the ruptured fallopian tube. How to Seek Medical Help The main takeaway from this is that an ectopic pregnancy is an emergency, life-threatening situation. All of the symptoms listed above are cause for concern. If you experience severe, sudden abdominal pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding, dizziness or shoulder pain, you should seek help immediately. Likewise, if you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy, you should go to the emergency room without delay.