Potential causes of non-epileptic seizures

Epilepsy or seizure disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences two or more episodes of unprovoked seizures. The abrupt surge of electrochemical impulses generated by a group of nerves in the brain can cause epileptic seizures.

The non-epileptic seizures strikingly resemble epileptic seizures except that they are not triggered by electrical disturbances in the brain. Take note that there are two forms of non-epileptic seizures – physiologic (caused by medical conditions that trigger disruption of brain functions) and psychogenic (caused by major emotional trauma).

Hypoglycemia

Sugar or glucose is a vital source of energy for the body. The body breaks down foods ingested into smaller molecules including glucose that can be absorbed via the small intestines. If the level of glucose in the body is low, it is a condition called as hypoglycemia. This condition deprives the cells of the needed energy essential for functioning which leads to clumsiness, confusion or fainting. In severe cases, many individuals who suffer from type-1 diabetes can lead to seizures, coma or even death.

Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia is a condition of low level of sodium in the blood which results to seizures. Take note that sodium is an electrolyte which helps control the amount of water in the cells of the body.

If the level of sodium drops less than 135mEq/L, the cells can become swollen with water which leads to headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness, irritability and seizures. Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, cancer or Addison’s disease can also lead to hyponatremia.

Non-epileptic seizures

If the level of sodium drops less than 135mEq/L, the cells can become swollen with water which leads to headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness, irritability and seizures.

Cardiac arrhythmia

The heart is responsible for pumping blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. A group of cells called as the sinus node situated in the upper right of the heart generate electrical impulses that control the beating of the heart. The heart can pump blood effectively only if the cells within the four chambers of the heart pump together.

Several types of arrhythmia or erratic heartbeat can occur. When it comes to tachycardia, the heart beats too rapidly while bradycardia is a slow heartbeat. Take note that arrhythmia disrupts the amount of blood and oxygen circulating all over the body. A seizure can also occur due to deprivation of oxygen and blood to the brain which results to disturbance among the cells.

Emotional trauma

Emotional trauma such as due to physical or sexual abuse can lead to the onset of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. Take note that this form of seizure is triggered by psychiatric issues but manifest as a neurological condition.

The psychogenic non-epileptic seizures are considered as a coping mechanism. It simply means that physical symptoms of movements, behaviors and sensations similar to epileptic seizures allow the individual to dissociate from the emotional trauma causing the distress. Just remember though that it does not mean that seizures are intentional since they usually occur without conscious awareness.

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