Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Effects of Epilepsy

I have been contacted by and asked if I would share the following information with my readers.  They had seen my post on Epilepy and thought that it would be a great resource for An Arkie's Musings readers.

You can read this article in it's original format here.

The article was written by Ann Pietrangelo and medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA


The Effects of Epilepsy on the Body

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes recurring seizures. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, almost three million Americans are living with epilepsy. Epilepsy can be triggered by illness or injury, but most of the time, there is no known cause. Because it is a disorder of the central nervous system, effects can be felt throughout the body. Due to the unpredictability of seizures, there can also be a great emotional toll.

Central Nervous System
The brain is the central hub for all voluntary and involuntary movements in your body. Electrical activity running through nerve cells help your brain tell your body what to do. When abnormal signals interrupt the brain’s normal functioning, you can have a seizure. There are several different types of seizures.

Focal/Partial Seizures
Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, are when abnormal electrical functions happen on only one side of the brain. Some people feel an aura, or a feeling of euphoria or doom, right before having a seizure. Other pre-seizure symptoms include changes to sight, hearing, or smell perception.

In a simple focal seizure, symptoms depend on which area of the brain is involved. The seizure may be accompanied by nausea or sweating. A complex focal seizure happens in the temporal lobe, which affects memory and emotion. This type of seizure usually involves loss of consciousness or lack of awareness of what’s happening. Symptoms may include screaming, crying, laughing, or lip smacking. There’s usually a feeling of sleepiness following a complex focal seizure.

Generalized Seizures
When both sides of the brain are involved, it’s called a generalized seizure, which may cause loss of consciousness. Absence seizures, or petit mal seizures, are short, usually lasting half a minute or less. A person having an absence seizure may appear to be staring and will have no awareness of what happened. There may be some facial twitching or rapid blinking. In atonic seizures, or drop attacks, there’s a sudden loss of muscle tone, causing you to fall without warning.

In a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, or grand mal seizure, the body and limbs contract and extend. This is followed by tremor, after which the muscles relax. Other symptoms include fatigue, severe headache, and body aches. Sometimes there are speech and vision disturbances. People who have numerous tonic-clonic seizures are at increased risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Myoclonic seizures involve sudden, jerky muscle movements. This type of seizure usually happens multiple times a day over several days.

Status epilepticus describes a seizure that lasts for an extended time – usually from 5 to 30 minutes. It can also mean you’re having multiple seizures without coming to consciousness in between. Status epilepticus increases the risk of permanent damage to the brain.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation Michigan, about 30 percent of people with epilepsy eventually develop clinical depression. Epileptic seizures can also make you more prone to falls and injuries. There’s a common misconception that you can swallow your tongue when you’re having a seizure, but that’s not possible.

Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
Epileptic seizures can interfere with your heart rhythm and breathing. Symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing. In rare cases, choking occurs. Over the long term, epilepsy increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Some cases of SUDEP are thought to be due to heart and breathing problems.

Muscular and Digestive Systems
During a seizure, misfires from the brain can tell your muscles to contract and relax. A seizure may cause muscles to jerk uncontrollably. In some cases, you can lose muscle tone so quickly that you fall down. When muscles surrounding your vocal cords seize up, it pushes out air. It sounds like a cry or a scream.

Epilepsy, and some of the drugs used to treat it, can cause digestive problems like heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. Constipation and diarrhea can also be problematic. In children, epileptic seizures can cause abdominal pain. During a seizure, or immediately following one, you may lose bowel or bladder control.

Reproductive System
Although epilepsy doesn’t affect the reproductive system directly, it can have an impact on pregnancy. Among women with epilepsy, about 25 to 40 percent experience a higher number of seizures during pregnancy, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Most women with epilepsy have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. However, there is a higher risk of hypertension, delivering an underweight baby, and stillbirth. Pregnant women with epilepsy should be closely monitored.

See more at

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pay It Forward Weekend

I have pledged to participate in the Pay It Forward Weekend. During the weekend of Friday Jan. 16 through Sunday Jan. 18, we are encouraging everyone to "Pay It Forward". We are asking everyone to do at least one random act of kindness (more than one is even better). All you have to do is do something for someone or some organization without expecting anything in return. Pay for a strangers meal, send someone a card, volunteer some time. The ideas are endless. All it takes is a spark to get a fire going. By taking part, you can make a difference and who knows, maybe change someone's life. Get on board, and let's see if we can change someone's world this weekend. Who knows, it might be your life that gets changed. Remember, it doesn't take people doing a lot, just a lot of people doing a little. WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!

If you are on Facebook you can sign up for the event here.

My wife's cousin, Jerry Patton, spent 37 years as the second tenor of The King's Heralds Quartet, the oldest continuous gospel quartet in America.

One of my favorite songs that he sang was titled One Little Candle. The lyrics are great.

It's better to light just one little candle
Than to stumble in the dark
Better far that you light just one little candle
All you need's a tiny spark

If we'd all say a prayer that the world would be free
The wonderful dawn of the new day we'll see
And if everyone lit just one little candle
What a bright world this would be

Will you pledge to participate in the Pay It Forward Weekend with me? We can light a candle and make the world a better place. If you are on Facebook please consider going to the "Pay It Forward" Weekend.  Over 249,000 people already have!