Tuesday, May 09, 2017

10 Common Conditions that May Result in Seizures – How Many Are Misdiagnosed?

When it comes to conditions that result in seizures, there is often a fine line between the actual cause of the seizure and the best treatment for that particular underlying condition. The truth is, just because someone has a seizure, even a grand mal seizure, it doesn’t mean they have epilepsy. It could be triggered by any number of conditions such as, believe it or not, low blood sugar or even a stroke.

Because there are so many underlying conditions and illnesses that can trigger a variety of seizures, they have often been misdiagnosed and as a result, anti seizure medications were wrongly prescribed leading to unwanted and often severe side effects. You would be surprised at the number of lawsuits which have ensued following a misdiagnosis and improper prescriptions stemming from those errors.

Before Taking Any Medications or Treatments

If you, or someone you love, has had one or more seizures, it is important to get a full battery of tests prior to taking any medications or treatments whatsoever. This often means seeking a second or even third opinion and consultation with one or more specialists.

Also, the type of specialist you see is dependent upon the diagnosis you receive. A patient suffering from bouts of dangerously low blood sugar wouldn’t need to see the same type of specialist who treats epilepsy, for example, and vice versa. Without these diagnostics, you could be taking the wrong medication for what ails you!

A Brief Look at Common Conditions Which Can Result in Seizures

When you think seizures, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Of course, it would be epilepsy because everyone who has had any kind of first aid training knows that epileptics are prone to grand mal seizures and there is a danger of choking on their tongue. You are taught how to use a tongue depressor to keep them from swallowing their tongue and in the absence of one, you are taught to use any object at hand, including your finger or a Popsicle stick! But there are other triggers leading to seizures which begin with epilepsy. The list would look something like this:

1. Epilepsy – A neurologic disorder resulting in a disturbance in electrical activity within the brain, leading to recurrent seizures.
2. Injury to the Brain – Usually blunt force trauma of some kind that disrupts electrical activity of the brain.
3. Eclampsia – Seizures brought about as the result of pre-eclampsia (e.g., high blood pressure and organ damage) in pregnant women.
4. Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs – Withdrawal can also trigger a disruption in electrical activity of the brain.
5. Cerebral Palsy – Impairment of motor function from birth which can lead to seizures.
6. Low Blood Sugar – Can lead to more episodes and brain damage which results in seizures.
7. Low Blood Sodium – Causes an imbalance of electrolytes in the system, leading to imbalance in brain activity.
8. Intracranial Hemorrhages – Bleeding in the brain.
9. High Fevers – Triggers a disruption in brain activity leading to seizures in some cases.
10. Brain Hypoxia – A reduction in oxygen within the brain.

As you can see, each of those conditions that can lead to seizures would be treated in different ways and sometimes are absent by the time a patient sees a doctor about seizures they’ve experienced. For instance, you may not still be running a very high fever when you saw your doctor so he or she might assume you have neurological issues. This can result in a misdiagnosis and an erroneous prescribing of anti-seizure medications or treatments.

Your Health Is in Your Hands

When it comes right down to it, your health really is in your hands. Before accepting a serious diagnosis, you always have the option of getting a second, or even a third, opinion. One thing to be aware of, as in the case of epilepsy, is there really is no one test or string of tests which can lead to a diagnosis. Patterns of seizures are observed and a number of other factors can lead to the prescription of a medication which ultimately isn’t necessary.

Those who have been misdiagnosed can sometimes claim medical malpractice and a lawsuit can ensue. However, your health is at stake here so it is important that you understand that you have an active role to play in any treatments ordered by your physicians. If you are in doubt, always seek secondary consultations with specialists pertinent to the diagnosis you have been given.

The most common side effects of anti-seizure medications are not typically severe. While they can include such things as blurred vision, nausea and headaches, few people do experience side effects that are much more serious resulting in secondary issues. If you have been misdiagnosed, consult an attorney. However, don’t let it get to that stage! Be proactive in your treatments to avoid complications.

This is a guest blog entry.

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