Prevent seizures: Importance of Preventing Seizures | Epilepsy Foundation
Importance of Preventing Seizures | Epilepsy Foundation
So far, the aim of seizure management has been on seizure control. But why is this so important? Research in epilepsy has shown that seizures are just one part of the problem. Yet, many of the problems that people face can be the result of how seizure activity in the brain affects brain functioning. Other problems may be due to side effects of medicines or complications of seizures. Some of these problems are more pronounced or more likely to occur in people with uncontrolled seizures, as compared to people with well-controlled epilepsy.
What types of problems are people with epilepsy at risk of developing:
- Cognitive problems (for example problems with thinking, remembering, problem solving, paying attention)
- Mood disorders or problems with depression and anxiety
- Coordination problems
- Side effects of medicine
- Thinning of the bones
- Reproductive or hormonal problems
- Dying from complications of seizures or injuries.
Can I prevent any of these problems?
Preventing seizures and other problems must be part of seizure management. This means working together with your health care team to control seizures as best as possible. Ways to prevent seizures and other problems must include taking seizure medicines regularly as problems taking medicines is one of the biggest risks for uncontrolled seizures. People can also adjust their lifestyle and environment to reduce the chance of seizures. Steps then can be taken to address risk factors for seizures and other problems.
What should I do if I’m at risk these problems?
Consider a few examples of how to prevent other problems:
- Avoiding alcohol and other substances and managing stress may help seizure control and lessen the risk of mood disorders.
- Keeping good seizure control and avoiding side effects of medicines may help prevent or lessen cognitive problems, mood changes and falls.
- Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help prevent seizures from poor sleep and help treat sleep disorders and stress.
- Choosing seizure medicines carefully can help lessen the risk of bone problems, (thinning of the bones or osteoporosis) or developing hormonal problems . These hormonal problems could affect having children or cause other health problems.
- Taking Vitamin D and exercising can help keep bones strong and hopefully decrease fracture
- Wearing protective helmets can lessen the chance of head injury.
Sleep Tight With Epilepsy – Epilepsy Center
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, but it’s even more critical if you’re one of the 2.3 million adults in the United States who has epilepsy. The reason: Seizures can keep you from getting the quality sleep that you need, which can cause you to have more seizures. It’s a vicious cycle, especially for people who don’t realize that their seizures are affecting the amount and quality of their sleep.
Why the close relationship between sleep and epilepsy? Seizure disorders like epilepsy cause a “misfiring” of activity in your brain, the very organ that regulates your sleep. So when your brain is malfunctioning because of your seizures, your sleep suffers. And when your sleep suffers, your brain becomes more vulnerable to these misfirings that cause seizures in the first place.
What’s more, some seizures, such as benign Rolandic (benign focal epilepsy of childhood) and frontal lobe seizures, actually occur while you’re asleep. Others, such as like juvenile myoclonic and awakening grand mal seizures, happen as you’re waking up. Either way, your sleep is affected. You may even experience sleep disturbances on nights when you don’t experience any seizures.
Another complicating factor: Seizure medications might be making you extra-tired or even changing the quality of your sleep. Some commonly prescribed treatments, such as clonazepam, phenobarbital, and valproate, can have sedating effects, which means they may make you sleepier than normal. Many of the newer seizure medicines are less likely to have these sedative effects, so talk with your doctor about switching if you think your medication is leaving you more tired than usual.
Smart Sleep Strategies for More ZZZs
Making adjustments to your medication, avoiding known seizure triggers, and working closely with your doctor on your treatment strategy are important first steps. But according to sleep specialist Shalini Paruthi, MD, the codirector of the St. Luke’s Sleep Medicine and Research Center in Chesterfield, Missouri, there are more steps you can take to help you rest easy and wake up refreshed. Start with these tips.
- Get enough shut-eye. It sounds obvious, but the fact is, most of us just don’t sleep enough. A poll conducted in 2014 by the National Sleep Foundation found that about 45 percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep interferes with their daily activities at least once a week. The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to function at their best, while teenagers 14 to 17 need 8 to 10 hours, and children 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours. If you’re sleep-deprived, your brain will be more irritated, which can lead to more seizures. So first things first, get more sleep.
- Develop a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and time your naps so they don’t interfere with your bedtime.
- Treat any underlying sleep problems. A review published in September 2018 in Epilepsy Research found that people with epilepsy are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. That makes having a sleep disorder a double whammy, because if your brain is affected by a sleep disorder all night long, that can provoke more seizures. Know the signs: Feeling excessively tired during the day, snoring while you sleep, or waking up often during the night can signal a sleep disorder. Your doctor might recommend that you see a sleep medicine specialist who can perform certain tests to see exactly what’s affecting your sleep. If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder, taking steps to control it can help calm brain activity and improve your epilepsy.
- Develop healthy sleep habits. Create an environment that’s conducive to sleep. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, and turn off all electronics, including TVs, cell phones, handheld video games, tablets, and computers, because they emit light, which decreases melatonin, the hormone produced by your brain that helps you sleep. Establishing a simple bedtime routine that you follow every night — whether it’s a soak in the tub or a few minutes of deep breathing — can also help teach your mind and body when it’s time to go to sleep.
Dr. Paruthi admits that doing this kind of habit retraining can be hard at first, but you’ll soon reap the benefits and restful results. “Many people forget that getting to sleep involves positive, good behaviors,” she says. “To be a good sleeper, you have to actually practice your short, 15-minute bedtime routine every night. And practice makes perfect.”
Medical Management of Epilepsy | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures, temporary episodes that often
include twitching and convulsions. These seizures happen when the brain’s
electrical impulses act abnormally and send erratic signals. Think of it as
your brain getting confused by these haywire messages, and the result is a
Epilepsy can make driving, walking across the street, or cooking dinner a
dangerous activity because you never know when a seizure may strike. But
epilepsy can usually be managed well through medication and other
treatments. Learning how to reduce your risk for a seizure through
lifestyle changes and learning your triggers can also help you to better
manage your epilepsy.
Facts about the medical management of epilepsy
About 70 percent of people with epilepsy are able to successfully manage
epilepsy seizures with medication and certain types of surgery, but it’s
important to remember that epilepsy can’t be cured and that there’s always
a risk of having another seizure.
Epilepsy usually begins in young people, often between ages 5 and 20,
although it can affect anyone. Most of the time, people with epilepsy have
someone else in their family who has epilepsy or seizures.
Sometimes seizures can be triggered by something that’s out of your
control. Running a high fever may result in a seizure, despite taking
medications to manage epilepsy. Having high or low blood glucose or sodium
or taking certain medications can also cause a seizure.
Symptoms of epilepsy
The primary symptom of epilepsy is a seizure. But there are different types
of seizures with different symptoms. These are some symptoms of seizures:
Slight twitching of all or parts of the body, including arms,
hands, and legs
Convulsions that affect the entire body
Loss of consciousness
Twitching of the face
Sudden stillness with a blank stare
Temporary loss of control of your bladder or bowels
Most seizures only last for a few minutes or even just a few seconds. If
you’ve had a seizure, it may take you an hour or so to feel normal again.
And you may not have any memory of having had a seizure or remember what
was happening as the seizure started.
A doctor may perform a neurological exam and a complete physical exam to
pinpoint the cause of the seizures and diagnose epilepsy. Tests used to
diagnose epilepsy include:
An electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure the electrical activity of
A spinal tap to collect spinal fluid for analysis
Imaging tests, like an MRI or CT scan, of the head
These blood tests are also commonly used to help diagnose epilepsy or rule
out other disorders:
Tests of liver and kidney function
Blood glucose tests
Complete blood count and chemistry of the blood
Tests to diagnose or rule out any infectious diseases
Epilepsy can be treated through multiple strategies. Usually medication is
needed to control seizures and treat epilepsy; these commonly prescribed
drugs are called anticonvulsants.
Medication alone can’t always stop or reduce seizures. A device called a
vagus nerve stimulator may help treat epilepsy if you don’t get relief from
medication. The stimulator is surgically placed in the chest. It
electrically stimulates a large nerve (the vagus nerve) that runs through
the neck. This device is successful in preventing seizures in some people,
but even a vagus nerve stimulator can’t totally stop seizures from
Some doctors recommend a special diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates
to help manage epilepsy. This is called a ketogenic diet, and it may help
more than half of people who haven’t improved on medicine alone.
If you can’t get good control over seizures with medications, diet, or a
vagus nerve stimulator, brain surgery to correct the problem might be an
Calling the doctor
If you have a seizure for the first time, you should see a doctor right
away to try to pinpoint the cause. If you have already been diagnosed with
epilepsy, tell your doctor about any changes in your seizures; it’s a good
idea to keep track of when and where they occur and contact your doctor as
Although there is no way to prevent epilepsy, you can take steps to help
Don’t drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, or smoke.
Protect your head with a helmet during any sport or activity that
could result in a head injury.
Get plenty of sleep every night.
Do your best to avoid getting a cold or the flu.
Talk with your doctor about all of your prescription medications to
be sure they won’t aggravate seizures.
Always take all of your epilepsy medications as prescribed.
Find healthy ways to cope with stress.
Epilepsy can lead to emotional and social problems, particularly in
children. They may start to act out, experience behavior problems at
school, or develop a learning disability. The seizures themselves can cause
injury if you fall or hit your head or if you happen to be driving or using
machinery. Other complications include suffering permanent damage to the
brain due to lack of oxygen during a seizure.
Medications used to treat epilepsy may cause complications or uncomfortable
side effects. If you’re pregnant, some of these drugs may lead to serious
Key points to remember
Because a seizure can strike at any time, do your best to be prepared. If
you have uncontrolled seizures, don’t drive to reduce your risk of being in
an accident. Ask your doctor about wearing a medical alert bracelet that
identifies you as having epilepsy so that people will know what to do if
you have a seizure. And if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant,
remember to check with your doctor about the safety of your medications.
Epilepsy – Treatment – NHS
Treatment can help most people with epilepsy have fewer seizures, or stop having seizures completely.
- medicines called anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)
- surgery to remove a small part of the brain that’s causing the seizures
- a procedure to put a small electrical device inside the body that can help control seizures
- a special diet (ketogenic diet) that can help control seizures
Some people need treatment for life. But you might be able to stop if your seizures disappear over time.
You may not need any treatment if you know your seizure triggers and are able to avoid them.
Talk to your specialist about the treatments available and which might be best for you.
Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)
AEDs are the most commonly used treatment for epilepsy. They help control seizures in around 7 out of 10 of people.
AEDs work by changing the levels of chemicals in your brain. They do not cure epilepsy, but can stop seizures happening.
Types of AEDs
There are many AEDs.
Common types include:
The best type for you will depend on things like the type of seizures you have, your age and if you’re thinking of having a baby.
Some AEDs can harm an unborn baby – see living with epilepsy for more information.
If your doctor recommends taking an AED, ask them about the different types available and which is likely to be the most suitable for you.
AEDs are available in a number of different forms, including tablets, capsules, liquids and syrups. You usually need to take the medicine every day.
Your specialist will start you on a low dose and gradually increase it until your seizures stop. If the first medicine you try does not work, your doctor may recommend trying another type.
It’s important you follow any advice about when to take AEDs and how much to take. Never suddenly stop taking an AED – doing so could cause a seizure.
If you have not had a seizure for a few years, ask your doctor if you might be able to stop treatment. If they think it’s safe, your dose will be reduced gradually over time.
While taking AEDs, do not take any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicines or complementary medicines, without speaking to your GP or specialist. Other medicines could affect how well your AED works.
Side effects are common when starting treatment with AEDs. Some may appear soon after starting treatment and pass in a few days or weeks, while others may not appear for a few weeks.
The side effects you may get depend on the medicine you’re taking.
Common side effects of AEDs include:
- a lack of energy
- uncontrollable shaking (tremor)
- hair loss or unwanted hair growth
- swollen gums
- rashes – contact your GP or specialist if you get a rash, as it might mean you’re having a serious reaction to your medicine
Contact your GP or specialist if you have symptoms similar to being drunk, such as unsteadiness, poor concentration and being sick. This could mean your dose is too high.
For information about the side effects of your medicine, check the information leaflet that comes with it.
Want to know more?
Surgery to remove part of your brain may be an option if:
- AEDs are not controlling your seizures
- tests show that your seizures are caused by a problem in a small part of your brain that can be removed without causing serious effects
In these cases, there’s a good chance that your seizures could stop completely after surgery.
Tests before surgery
If your epilepsy is poorly controlled after trying several AEDs, you may be referred to a specialist epilepsy centre to see if surgery might be possible.
This will usually involve having several tests, such as:
- brain scans
- an electroencephalogram (EEG) – a test of your brain’s electrical activity
- tests of your memory, learning abilities and mental health
The results of these tests will help you and your specialist decide if surgery is an option for you, and what the result of surgery might be.
What happens during surgery
Surgery for epilepsy is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, where you’re asleep.
The surgeon makes a small cut in your scalp and creates an opening in your skull so they can remove the affected part of the brain.
The openings in your skull and scalp are closed at the end of the operation.
Recovery and risks
It’s likely to take a few weeks or months for you to feel back to normal after surgery.
Your seizures may not stop straight away, so you might need to keep taking AEDs for 1 to 2 years.
There’s a risk of complications from surgery, such as problems with your memory, mood or vision. These problems may improve over time, or they may be permanent.
Before having surgery, make sure you talk to your surgeon about the possible risks.
If AEDs are not controlling your seizures and brain surgery is not suitable for you, there are other procedures that could help.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is where a small electrical device similar to a pacemaker is placed under the skin of your chest.
The device is attached to a wire that goes under your skin and connects to a nerve in your neck called the vagus nerve. Bursts of electricity are sent along the wire to the nerve.
It’s thought this can help control seizures by changing the electrical signals in the brain.
VNS does not usually stop seizures completely, but it can help make them less severe and less frequent. You’ll probably still need to take AEDs.
Side effects of VNS include a hoarse voice, a sore throat and a cough when the device is activated. This normally happens every 5 minutes and lasts for 30 seconds.
The battery for the VNS device typically lasts up to 10 years, after which time another procedure will be needed to replace it.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is similar to VNS. But the device placed in the chest is connected to wires that run directly into the brain.
Bursts of electricity sent along these wires can help prevent seizures by changing the electrical signals in the brain.
DBS is a fairly new procedure that’s not used very often, so it’s not yet clear how effective it is for epilepsy.
There are also some serious risks associated with it, including bleeding on the brain, depression and memory problems.
If your doctor suggests DBS as an option, make sure you talk to them about the potential benefits and risks.
A ketogenic diet is a diet high in fats, and low in carbohydrates and protein. In children, the diet is thought to make seizures less likely by changing the levels of chemicals in the brain.
The ketogenic diet was one of the main treatments for epilepsy before AEDs were available. But it’s now not widely used in adults because a high-fat diet is linked to serious health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A ketogenic diet is sometimes recommended for children with seizures that are not controlled by AEDs. This is because it’s been shown to reduce the number of seizures in some children.
It should only be used under the supervision of an epilepsy specialist with the help of a dietitian.
There are several complementary therapies that some people with epilepsy feel work for them. But none has been shown to reduce seizures conclusively in medical studies.
You should therefore be cautious about advice from anyone other than a GP or specialist to reduce or stop taking your medicine and try alternative treatments. Stopping your medicine without medical supervision may cause seizures.
Herbal remedies should also be used cautiously because some of their ingredients can interact with epilepsy medicine.
St John’s Wort, a herbal remedy used for mild depression, is not recommended for people with epilepsy because it can affect the levels of epilepsy medicine in the blood and may stop the medicine working properly.
There are reports that some strong-smelling aromatherapy treatments, such as hyssop, rosemary and sweet fennel, may trigger seizures in some people.
For some people with epilepsy, stress can trigger seizures. Stress-relieving and relaxation therapies such as exercise, yoga and meditation may help.
Page last reviewed: 18 September 2020
Next review due: 18 September 2023
Power to Prevent Seizures | Box
Epilepsy affects nearly three million Americans, but did you know that as many as a third of patients do not respond to anti-seizure drugs? A major area of epilepsy research focuses on implantable devices that can predict, monitor, or prevent seizures from occurring. N. Sertac Artan, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, is designing circuits and systems that can more accurately and efficiently detect and prevent seizures, and which can be used in other neurological diseases.
“Current detection methods are very crude and don’t give us the full picture,” says Artan. “There are methods in development that can do a much better job and have much higher resolution of detection.” But there’s a problem: “They don’t have an adequate power supply to make them implantable.”
Replacing a battery in an implantable device is not like changing one in a hearing aid. It requires surgery. Artan says it’s important that an implantable device has power that lasts for a few years. His research focuses on enabling devices to last longer—thereby making them feasible for clinical application—by developing a method to charge and power them “wirelessly”—a process similar to how you might wirelessly charge a cell phone.
Assistant Professor N. Sertac Artan demonstrates the recording of brain activity with his graduate student assistant, Kunyu Sun.
Battery life also has a significant impact on the capabilities of an implantable device. “Current devices work better on seizures that are more localized in the brain,” Artan explains, “while seizures that are more distributed or complex are harder to detect. If you want to look at a lot of areas on the brain or you need to do it frequently, you need a bigger battery.”
Artan works with engineering graduate students on research to detect seizures and on systems that use lower power. Two undergraduate students are also helping him with a project using similar technology (although not implantable) for sleep apnea.
So far, Artan has had success reducing the power consumption significantly while providing comparable detection. The result? “You can have more of these devices in the same area in terms of circuit size or battery size, which helps solve the problem of having a more complete view of what’s going on in the brain,” he says.
This story originally appeared as part of the feature “Bio + Tech = a Healthier Future” in the Summer 2018 issue of NYIT Magazine.
By Renée Gearhart Levy
Neurology : Antiepileptic medications
This information is provided as general information about the drug treatment of epilepsy. The information is not a substitute for proper medical advice. Consult your doctor for any questions or concerns you have about you or your child’s medication. For urgent information about incorrect dosing or overdosage please contact your doctor, pharmacist or the
Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26 Nationwide Australia.
Antieplieptic medications do not cure epilepsy, but rather attempt to prevent seizures. Strictly speaking, these medications are antiseizure or anticonvulsant, rather than antiepileptic. Antiepileptic medications do not alter the underlying problem predisposing to seizures. People with epilepsy are prescribed antiepileptic medications with the aim of decreasing the number, severity, and/or duration of seizures. While seizure freedom is the ideal outcome of treatment, seizures can still occur while taking antiepileptic medication.
Antiepileptic medication is usually prescribed for children with recurrent seizures, ideally after a specific epilepsy syndrome diagnosis is made and the risk of subsequent seizures is known. However, there are instances when a doctor may prescribe medication after a single seizure (eg. when the risk of subsequent seizures is great) and when medication is not prescribed after several seizures (eg. when seizures are a minor and self-limiting problem). Other factors taken into consideration when prescribing antiepileptic medication include the child’s age, other medical conditions, findings on an EEG, other medications the child is taking, and potential for side effects.
How antiepileptic medications work?
Normal brain function involves “communication” between millions of nerve cells (neurons). At any one time, there are nerve cells which are resting, exciting or inhibiting other nerve cells. A nerve cell is made up of a cell body and branches called axons and dendrites which join other neurons at junctions called synapses. Electrical signals are sent from the cell body along the axon to the synapse, these electrical signals being the result of ion (sodium, potassium, calcium) currents across channels in the nerve cell membrane. Chemical signals (neurotransmitters) pass across synapses between neurons. Neurotransmitters cross the synaptic gap between neurons and fix to receptor points of the adjoining neuron. Some neurotransmitters function to excite the joining neuron (eg. glutamate) to send a further electrical signal. Other neurotransmitters function to inhibit the joining neuron (eg. GABA) and inhibit electrical signals passing down that neuron. It is by these electrical and chemical pathways that the millions of neurons within the brain communicate and function normally.
Seizures occur when there is an imbalance within these excitatory and inhibitory circuits in the brain, either throughout the brain (generalised epilepsy) or in a localised part of the brain (focal epilepsy), such that neurons “fire off” in an abnormal fashion.
Antiepileptic medications work in different ways to prevent seizures, either by decreasing excitation or enhancing inhibition. Specifically, they act by either:
- Altering electrical activity in neurons by affecting ion (sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride) channels in the cell membrane.
- Altering chemical transmission between neurons by affecting neurotransmitters (GABA, glutamate) in the synapes.
- For some drugs, the mode of action is unknown.
As the specific mechanisms that cause epilepsy are mostly unknown, drugs with specific mechanisms of action directed at the underlying “epileptic processes” have not yet been developed.
How do antiepileptic medications reach nerve cells?
An antiepileptic medication is swallowed by mouth and passes directly to the stomach. Once in the stomach the medication is absorbed into the blood stream where it is then circulated to the brain, via the liver, and acts on the nerve cells. As the drug is circulating in the blood, it is gradually removed by either the liver breaking it down (metabolism) or the kidneys filtering it out (excretion). Some drug metabolites are active and produce either beneficial antiepileptic effects or adverse side effects. Most commonly prescribed antiepileptic medications are removed from the blood at a rate that allows twice daily dosing to maintain adequate blood levels. Some drugs are removed more quickly than others and have to be taken 3 or 4 times throughout the day, whilst others are removed slowly and can be taken once each day.
For some medications, children need to have blood tests to determine the level in the bloodstream (eg. phenytoin, phenobarbitone, carbamazepine). These blood levels are generally measured before a dose is due. Not all antiepileptic medications need to be monitored with drug levels, as there is not a good correlation between drug level and effect.
The dose of medication prescribed is determined by the child’s age and weight. Young children and adolescents have greater rates of drug clearance and are often prescribed doses per kilogram of body weight greater than an adult would receive.
In an emergency situation, such as status epilepticus, some antiepileptic drugs can be given directly into the blood stream, into the rectum, nose or buccal to act very quickly to control seizures.
Which medication and how is it prescribed?
The choice of medication and how each is prescribed is a specialist area of paediatrics and child neurology. Prescription of antiepileptic medication is only done by a doctor with knowledge of antiepileptic medication and epilepsy in children. General principles that doctors follow when prescribing antiepileptic medications in children include:
- starting with a low dose and slowly increasing to reach a maintenance dose (this helps to reduce or avoid side effects during the introduction phase and is important for some drugs where there is risk of allergic rash)
- aiming for control of seizures with one antiepileptic medication (monotherapy) where possible
- giving a medication a good trial period to work before changing
- recognising that doses and tolerance of antiepileptic medications vary between individuals
- spacing medication doses appropriately to maintain stable blood levels
- avoiding combinations of antiepileptic medications that are known to not interact well
- slowly withdrawing antiepileptic medications if ceasing treatment, especially the barbituate and benzodiazepine medications
Always follow your doctors instructions about medication.
A-Z of antiepileptic medication
* MIMS links only available from within RCH
Common antiepileptic medication choices for seizures in children
|Seizure Type||Commonly Prescribed Antiepileptic Medications|
|focal seizures||carbamazepine, clobazam, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, sodium valproate, topiramate, lacosamide, zonisamide|
|generalised tonic clonic seizures||carbamazepine, clobazam, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, sodium valproate, topiramate, lacosamide, zonisamide|
|absence seizures||ethosuximide, lamotrigine, sodium valproate|
|myoclonic, tonic and atonic seizures||clobazam, clonazepam, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, sodium valproate, topiramate|
|infantile spasms||prednisolone, vigabatrin, ACTH, nitrazepam|
|neonatal seizures||phenobarbitone, phenytoin, clonazepam, levetiracetam, topiramate|
All medications have the possibility of causing side effects. There are three main types of antiepileptic medication side effects.
- Some mild side effects are common when starting antiepileptic medications, particularly if the dose is increased rapidly. These include nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, sleepiness, irritability, anxiety or mood changes. These are usually not serious, but may worry some people and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor may slow the rate at which the medication is being introduced or may cut back another antiepileptic medication with which it may be interacting.
- Some side effects are common to antiepileptic medications when prescribed at too great a dose and are similar to being “drunk” eg. unsteadiness, poor concentration, sleepiness, double vision, vomiting, tremor. It is important to report these side effects to your doctor immediately if they occur.
- Some side effects are peculiar to individual medications and only occur in some people eg. rash, blood problems, liver problems, severe behaviour disturbance, worsening of seizure control. There are some patients or situations in which there may be increased risk of such side effects with a certain medication.
Please refer to the specific drug information provided with your medication for a more detailed list of side effects. As numerous side effects are listed against all medications, your doctor should help you understand which are the more common or potentially serious side effects to look out for. It is important to contact your doctor if you are worried about these or other side effects. For urgent information please contact your doctor, pharmacist or the
Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26 Nationwide Australia.
Always read the consumer information and follow instructions from your doctor and pharmacist carefully. Any concerns or questions should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist. It is important to take the exact dose that is prescribed by the doctor at approximately the same time each day. It may take many days or weeks to reach the dose that is most effective. The dose that your doctor is building up to may not be the maximum tolerated or prescribed dose for that medication.
Missing a dose
Establishing a regular routine can help to avoid medication being missed. Taking medication with meals or using a medication dosette may help. Maintaining supplies and current prescriptions can avoid running out of medication at the last minute. If a dose is missed it can generally be taken as soon as you remember. Do not double up on doses. It is advisable not to take the missed dose if it is close to the next one. Keep a record of doses that have been missed.
Only take medication that is prescribed by your doctor. Never try another person’s medication. What medication may control one person’s seizures may not be suitable for another. Many drugs interact with each other, so it is very important to always seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications with antiepileptic medications. It should also be noted that many “complementary medicines” interact with antiepileptic medications.
Vomiting and diarrhoea can affect the amounts of medication that are absorbed from the gut into the blood stream. This can result in low circulating levels of antiepileptic medication. Also, viral illnesses are a common trigger for seizures in children with epilepsy. If vomiting occurs within minutes of taking the medication, another dose can be administered. Seek medical advice if vomiting and diarrhoea persist.
It is recommended to keep a
seizure diary to record seizures as this helps monitor effectiveness of medication. The diary can also be used to record missed medication, side effects, illnesses and doctors visits.
Some medications require regular blood level monitoring by a simple blood test. These medications include phenytoin, phenobarbitone and sometimes carbamazepine; your doctor will determine if these are necessary.
Teaching children how to swallow tablets and capsules
Teaching children how to swallow tablets and capsules
Contraception and pregnancy
Concurrent use of antiepileptic medication with hormonal contraceptives (the pill) may cause the contraceptive to be ineffective. Higher dose oral contraceptives and additional non-hormonal (barrier methods) are often recommended but you should seek specific advice from your family doctor, neurologist, gynaecologist or Family Planning Centre.
Many complex circumstances exist during pregnancy for women with epilepsy. It is recommended that women taking antiepileptic medication receive pre-pregnancy counselling and discuss their individual circumstances with their doctor.
The Australian Centre of Clinical Neuropharmacology has developed a voluntary
Australian Epilepsy Pregnancy Register of women who become pregnant whilst taking antiepileptic medication. The primary aim of the register is to determine the incidence of adverse foetal outcomes resulting from pregnancies in Australian women who were taking antiepileptic medications. The secondary aims are to identify if certain antiepileptic medications, or combinations of medications, are associated with a higher overall incidence of foetal outcomes or specific types of malformations. As well we will try to identify other risk factors that may increase the risk of malformations occurring.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines
Some antiepileptic medications can cause drowsiness, sleepiness, incoordination and slowed reaction time, especially when the medication is being introduced or the dose is being increased. Effects on individuals should be assessed prior to driving or using machinery.
Effects when taken with alcohol
If alcohol is taken in combination with antiepileptic medication, extra sedative effects can occur. Also, alcohol increases the likelihood of seizures.
Antiepileptic medications permitted in sport
For an up-to-date listing of medications permitted in sport, refer to the
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
Overview, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Babies and children often have illnesses with fever. For most children fever causes only minor discomfort that can be relieved with acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Children’s Motrin® or Advil®). But in a few children, fever can bring on a seizure or a convulsion. These are called febrile (FEB rill) seizures. Sometimes a seizure is the first sign that a child has a fever.
Febrile seizures are common. A few children will have one at some time – usually between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Most children outgrow them by age 6. Almost a third of children who have had one seizure will have others. While scary to parents, febrile seizures usually do not last long and do not cause brain damage, learning disabilities or epilepsy.
Facts About Febrile Seizures
- Febrile seizures usually happen on the first day and in the first hours of fever.
- Febrile seizures can be caused by:
- A temperature of 100.4˚ F or higher
- A viral or bacterial infection such as flu, chickenpox, or an ear infection
- A recent vaccine that causes a fever. The fever, not the vaccine, triggers the seizure.
- A child is at risk to have more than one seizure if:
- There is a family history of febrile seizures.
- The first seizure occurs before age one.
- There are two types of febrile seizures.
- Simple (typical): This type is more common. The child has one seizure in 24 hours. It affects the entire body and lasts less than 15 minutes.
- Complex (atypical): This type affects either one part or one side of the body. A child may have more than one seizure in 24 hours. Each may last more than 15 minutes.
Signs of a Febrile Seizure
During a febrile seizure, a child may:
- Flutter eyelids or roll the eyes
- Stiffen, jerk or twitch the muscles of the arms and legs
- Clench the teeth or jaw
- Lose bladder or bowel control
- Lose consciousness
- Have irregular breathing
What You Can Do
There is nothing you can do to make the seizure stop. The most important thing is for you to stay calm and protect your child from injury.
- If your child is sitting or standing, gently ease him or her to the floor. Remove things
nearby that can hurt him.
- Place your child on a soft surface, lying on his side
and turn the head to face downward (Picture 1).
- Loosen tight clothing. If your child wears glasses,
- Look to see exactly how your child moves and
responds to you so you can describe it later.
- Time how long the seizure lasts. If the seizure
stops in less than 5 minutes, contact your child’s
doctor for further instructions.
What Not to Do
- Do not try to open your child’s mouth or place anything between the teeth. This could
injure the gums or break teeth.
- Do not try to stop or restrain your child’s movements.
- Do not put your fingers into his mouth. He might accidentally bite them.
- Do not use cold water or add alcohol to bath water to bring a fever down.
When to Call for Help
Have someone call 911 for emergency help if any of these things happens:
- The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes. The emergency squad can give medicine to stop
- Your child has trouble breathing during the seizure and his skin or lips change in color.
- Your child chokes on secretions (blood, vomit, etc.)
- Your child is injured during a fall or during the seizure and requires first aid (cut, broken bone).
Call your child’s doctor if he:
- Has a febrile seizure for the first time
- Has more than one febrile seizure
- Looks very ill, is very fussy or is hard to wake up
- Has a stiff neck, bad headache, very sore throat, painful stomachache, unusual rash or keeps vomiting and has diarrhea
- Is younger than 2 months of age and has a rectal temperature of 100.4˚ F or higher
- Fever comes back and lasts for 3 days or longer
- Shows signs of dehydration – dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes, or not urinating
After the Seizure
When the movements stop, your child may be quite groggy and confused. He may complain of a mild headache or be a little cranky or tired for a day or so. He will probably not remember having a seizure. There is no need to change your lifestyle or the way you care for your child.
- Your child can safely sleep in his own bed or crib. Be sure to remove extra pillows and
soft toys from the bed. For a preschooler, you may want to think about using guardrails on the bed.
- If your child is acting sick and has other signs of illness, follow your doctor’s advice as you normally would.
Prevention and Treating a Fever
Talk with your child’s doctor about ways to treat a fever. Treating the fever with medicines may help your child feel more comfortable but it will not prevent a seizure.
Medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used for a fever higher than 101˚F or if your child is uncomfortable. Make sure that you are using the right strength for the age of your child. (Picture 2).
- Follow the directions on the package of all medicines.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) may be used in children over 2 months.
- Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) may be used in children over 6 months.
- Do NOT give aspirin to children. Aspirin has been linked to a disease called Reye’s syndrome, which can be fatal.
- Give sponge baths after giving medicine. Use water that is lukewarm (85˚F to 90˚F). Sponge the water over the child’s body if he cannot be placed in the bathtub (Picture 3).
- Recheck your child’s temperature 15 minutes after the sponge bath. If the temperature is over 103˚F or is going higher, repeat the sponging.
- Undress your child when indoors. Do not cover him with blankets.
- If your child is having febrile seizures very often, his doctor may prescribe a medicine to use.
Fever and Seizures (Febrile Seizures) (PDF)
HH-I-195 5/98 Revised 3/18 Copyright 1998, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
90,000 Muscle cramps – treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnosis
- Muscle cramps are involuntary and intense muscle contractions without a period of relaxation.
- Almost everyone has had a seizure episode at least once in their life.
- There are different types of seizures and different causes.
- Many different medicines can cause muscle cramps.
- In most cases, muscle cramps can be stopped by relaxing (stretching) the muscle.
- Muscle cramps can often be prevented by measures such as a nutritious diet with sufficient micronutrients and adequate fluid intake.
Muscle cramps is an involuntary and violent contraction of a muscle, without a period of relaxation. When muscles that can be manipulated at will, such as the muscles of the arms or legs, are used, they alternately contract and relax as certain movements are performed in the limbs.The muscles that support the head, neck, and torso work in sync and maintain body position. A muscle (or even a few muscle fibers) can spasm involuntarily. If the spasm is strong and persistent, then this leads to the appearance of seizures. Muscle cramps are often visualized or palpated in the area of the muscle concerned.
Muscle cramps can last from a few seconds to a quarter of an hour, and sometimes longer. It is also not uncommon for seizures to recur until the muscle relaxes.Convulsive contractions can involve a part of a muscle, an entire muscle, or several muscles, which usually contract at the same time when performing movements, for example, when bending several fingers of the hand. In some cases, cramps can occur simultaneously in the antagonist muscles responsible for movement in opposite directions. Muscle cramps are common. Almost all people (according to some studies, about 95% of people) have experienced seizures at some point in their lives. Muscle cramps are common in adults and become more common as we age, but nevertheless, cramps can occur in children as well.Any muscle (skeletal) in which voluntary movements are performed may have seizures. Cramps of the limbs, legs and feet, and especially the calf muscle, are very common.
Types and causes of muscle cramps
Skeletal muscle cramps can be divided into four main types. These include “true” seizures, tetanic seizures, contractures, and dystonic seizures. Seizures are classified according to the cause of the seizures and the muscle groups they affect.
Types of muscle cramps
True convulsions . True cramps involve part or all of a muscle or a group of muscles that normally function together, such as the muscles involved in flexing several adjacent fingers. Most researchers agree that true seizures are caused by increased excitability of nerves that stimulate muscle contractions. They are overwhelmingly the most common type of skeletal muscle cramps. True seizures can occur in a variety of circumstances.
Injuries : Persistent muscle spasms can occur as a defense mechanism after injury, such as a broken bone. In this case, the spasm usually minimizes movement and stabilizes the area of injury. Injury to the muscle alone can also lead to muscle spasm.
Vigorous activity: true cramps, as a rule, are associated with vigorous muscle activity and muscle fatigue (during sports or unusual activities). Such convulsions can occur both during activity and after, sometimes many hours later.In addition, muscle fatigue from sitting or lying for long periods of time in awkward positions or any repetitive movements can also cause seizures. Older adults are more at risk for seizures when performing vigorous or strenuous physical activity.
Resting seizures : Resting seizures are very common, especially in the elderly, but can occur at any age, including childhood. Resting seizures often occur at night.Nocturnal cramps, although not life threatening, can be painful, disturb sleep, and recur frequently (that is, many times a night, and / or many nights a week). The actual cause of nocturnal seizures is unknown. Sometimes these seizures are triggered by a movement that contracts the muscles. An example would be stretching the foot in bed, which shortens the calf muscle, where cramps are most common.
Dehydration : Sports and other vigorous physical activity can lead to excessive fluid loss through sweat.With this type of dehydration, the likelihood of true seizures increases. These cramps are most common in warm weather and can be an early sign of heatstroke. Chronic diuretic dehydration and poor fluid intake can likewise lead to seizures, especially in the elderly. Seizures can also be associated with sodium deficiency.
Redistribution of body fluids: True seizures can also occur in conditions where there is an unusual distribution of body fluids.An example is cirrhosis of the liver, in which fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity (ascites). Similarly, seizures are a relatively common complication of the rapid changes in body fluids that occur during dialysis in renal failure.
Low blood electrolyte levels (calcium, magnesium): Low blood levels of calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of the nerve endings that innervate the muscles. This may be a predisposing factor for the spontaneous true seizures experienced by many older adults, and such seizures are also common in pregnant women.Low levels of calcium and magnesium are common in pregnant women, especially if these minerals are not supplied in sufficient quantities from the diet. Seizures occur in any setting that reduces the availability of calcium or magnesium in body fluids, such as after taking diuretics, hyperventilation, excessive vomiting, lack of calcium and / or magnesium in the diet, insufficient absorption of calcium due to vitamin D deficiency, and decreased parathyroid function.
Low potassium: Low potassium levels in the blood sometimes cause muscle cramps, although muscle weakness is more common in hypokalemia.
During tetany, all nerve cells in the body are activated, which then stimulate muscle contraction. In this type, convulsive contractions occur throughout the body. The name tetany comes from seizures that occur when tetanus toxin is exposed to nerves. However, this name for this type of seizure is now widely used to refer to muscle cramps in other conditions, such as low blood levels of calcium and magnesium.Low levels of calcium and magnesium increase the activity of the nervous tissue in a non-specific manner, which can lead to tetanic seizures. Often, these seizures are accompanied by signs of hyperactivity of other nerve functions in addition to muscle hyperstimulation. For example, low blood calcium not only causes muscle spasms in the hands and wrists, but it can also cause numbness and tingling sensations around the mouth and other areas of the body.
Sometimes, tetanic seizures are indistinguishable from true seizures.Additional changes in sensation or other nerve function may not be noticeable, as seizure pain may mask other symptoms
Contractures occur when the muscles cannot relax for an even longer period than with the main types of muscle cramps. Constant spasms are caused by the depletion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the energy intracellular substrate of the cell. This prevents relaxation of the muscle fibers. The nerves are inactive with this type of muscle cramps.
Contracture may result from genetic inheritance (eg, McArdle disease, which is a defect in the breakdown of glycogen to sugar in muscle cells) or from acquired conditions (eg, hyperthyroid myopathy, which is a muscle disorder associated with an overactive thyroid gland). Contracture-type seizures are rare.
The last category of seizures is dystonic seizures, in which muscles not involved in the intended movement are affected and contracted.The muscles that are involved in this type of seizure include antagonist muscles, which usually work in the opposite direction of the intended movement, and / or others that increase the movement. Some dystonic seizures usually involve small muscle groups (eyelids, cheeks, neck, larynx, etc.). The arms and hands can be touched during repetitive movements such as writing (writer’s cramp), playing a musical instrument. These activities can also lead to true cramps due to muscle fatigue.Dystonic seizures are not as common as true seizures.
Other types of seizures
Certain seizures are caused by a number of nerve and muscle disorders. For example, these are diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), accompanied by muscle weakness and atrophy; radiculopathy in degenerative diseases of the spine (hernia, disc protrusion, osteophytes), when the compression of the root is accompanied by pain, impaired sensitivity and sometimes convulsions.Also, convulsions can be with damage to peripheral nerves, for example, diabetic neuropathy.
Crumpy . This type of seizure, as a rule, describes cramps in the gastrocnemius muscle, and associate their appearance with muscle overstrain and the presence of degenerative changes in the spine (osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, lumboishalgia). In addition, cramps are possible with violations of the vascular circulation in the lower extremities (with obliterating endarteritis or post-thrombophlebitic syndrome).Also, the cause of crampi can be various biochemical disorders in the triceps muscle of the lower leg.
Many medicines can cause seizures. Potent diuretics such as furosemide or vigorous removal of fluid from the body, even with less potent diuretics, can induce seizures as dehydration and sodium loss occur. At the same time, diuretics often cause loss of potassium, calcium and magnesium, which can also cause seizures.
Medicines such as donepezil (Aricept), which are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease) and neostigmine (prostigmine), used to treat myasthenia gravis, asraloxifene (Evista), used to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, can cause seizures.Tolcapone (Tasmar), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, has been shown to cause muscle cramps in at least 10% of patients. True convulsions have been reported with nifedipine and the drugs Terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin). Some medications used to lower cholesterol, such as lovastatin (Mevacor), can also lead to seizures.
Convulsions sometimes occur in addicts when they stop taking sedatives.
Lack of certain vitamins can also directly or indirectly lead to muscle cramps. These include the disadvantages of thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6). The exact role of a deficiency in these vitamins in seizures is unknown.
Poor circulation in the legs results in a lack of oxygen in the muscle tissue and can cause severe muscle pain (intermittent claudication) that occurs when walking. This usually occurs in the calf muscles. But the pain in vascular disorders in such cases is not due to the actual muscle spasm.This pain may be more related to the buildup of lactic acid and other chemicals in muscle tissue. Cramps in the calf muscles can also be associated with impaired blood outflow in varicose veins and, as a rule, cramps in the calf muscles occur at night.
Symptoms and diagnosis of muscle cramps
Characteristically, the seizure is often quite painful. Typically, the patient has to stop activities and urgently take action to relieve seizures; the person is unable to use the muscle that is convulsive during the convulsive episode.Severe seizures can be accompanied by soreness and swelling, which can sometimes persist for up to several days after the seizure has cleared. At the time of the spasm, the affected muscles will bulge, feel hard and painful on palpation.
Diagnosis of seizures is usually not difficult, but finding out the reasons may require both a thorough collection of medical history and instrumental and laboratory methods of examination.
Most seizures can be interrupted by stretching the muscle.For many leg and foot cramps, this stretch can often be achieved by standing up and walking. With cramps in the calf muscles, it is possible to flex the ankle with the help of the hand, lying in bed with the leg extended straight. For a writing spasm, pressing down on the wall with the fingers down will stretch the flexors of the fingers.
You can also gently massage the muscle to relax the spasmodic muscle. If the cramp is associated with fluid loss, as is often the case with vigorous exercise, rehydration and electrolyte restoration are necessary.
Muscle relaxants can be used in the short term in certain situations to allow muscles to relax in the event of injury or other conditions (eg radiculopathy). These drugs include Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), Orphenadrine (NORFLEX), and baclofen (Lioresal).
In recent years, injections of therapeutic doses of botulism toxin (Botox) have been successfully used for certain dystonic muscle disorders that are localized in a limited muscle group.A good response can last several months or more, and the injections can be repeated.
Treatment of seizures , which are associated with specific diseases, usually focuses on treating the underlying disease.
In cases where the seizures are serious, frequent, prolonged, difficult to treat or are not associated with an obvious cause, then in such cases, both additional examination and more intensive treatment are required.
Prevention of seizures
In order to prevent the possible occurrence of seizures, a good diet with sufficient fluids and electrolytes is necessary, especially during intense physical activity or during pregnancy.
Night cramps and other resting cramps can often be prevented with regular stretching exercises, especially if done before bed.
Also a good means of preventing seizures is taking magnesium and calcium preparations, but caution is required in their prescription in the presence of renal failure. In the presence of hypovitaminosis, it is necessary to take vitamins of group B, vitamin D, E.
If the patient is taking diuretics, then it is necessary to take potassium preparations.
Quinine has recently been the only drug that has been widely used to prevent and sometimes treat seizures. Quinine has been used for many years in the treatment of malaria. The effect of quinine is due to a decrease in muscle excitability. However, quinine has a number of serious side effects that limit its prescription to all patient groups (nausea, vomiting, headaches, heart rhythm disturbances, hearing impairment, etc.).
90,000 Running cramps: how to prevent and treat
The problem of muscle spasms and cramps is a cornerstone issue for any athlete, be it a weightlifter or light distance runner.
Muscle cramps are involuntary and violent contractions of a muscle without a period of relaxation. When muscles that can be manipulated at will, such as the muscles of the arms or legs, are used, they alternately contract and relax as certain movements in the limbs are performed. The muscles that support the head, neck, and torso work in sync and maintain body position. A muscle (or even a few muscle fibers) can spasm involuntarily. If the spasm is strong and stable, then this leads to the appearance of seizures, that is, an involuntary contraction of the muscle.The muscle contracts without interruptions for relaxation, and the result is severe pain, which often leads to the inability to continue exercise or even movement. Legs can be reduced both during the jogging sessions themselves, and after – during the recovery periods, and occurs more often in the case of too high loads.
Convulsions can occur in apparently healthy people, and be a symptom of serious diseases. Involuntary muscle contractions are local, that is, affecting one muscle or a small muscle group, or generalized, when several muscle groups are involved in the pathological process.
According to the mechanism of muscle contractions, convulsions can be clonic, when periods of muscle contraction and relaxation are quickly replaced, and tonic, in which the muscle remains contracted (in tone) for a relatively long time.
One of the main causes of muscle spasms when running is a violation of the water-salt balance as a result of fluid loss. At high air temperatures or with particularly great physical efforts, the body loses a significant proportion of water, salts and minerals.Due to a lack of them, mainly calcium and magnesium, the muscles lose their elasticity and the ability to contract correctly – this becomes the cause of the spasm.
To prevent cramping, it is important to maintain water-salt balance during exercise. This will help you use sports drinks (isotonic) and energy gels containing electrolytes in their composition:
Carbohydrate gel provides the body with energy. Isotonic formula does not require drinking with water
Sports drink with carbohydrates, electrolytes, amino acids and caffeine
Powder for preparing an isotonic drink.Provides the body with long-term energy
Also, with a tendency to cramps or regular intense exertion, taking medications containing magnesium for a long period is effective.
Prevents the occurrence of spasms, reduces the risk of overheating during physical exertion, maintains strength indicators at the maximum possible level
Salt capsules to provide the body with electrolytes during sports, outdoor work or in hot conditions
Losing vital microelements with sweat, the body must again and again restore their reserves.If proper recovery has not occurred in time, then the nature of the biochemical functioning of muscle fibers, their contractile ability, which is precisely regulated by sodium-potassium interaction, changes. Therefore, with high and long-term loads, special equipment will help you, which will allow you to replenish fluid reserves in the body on time.
1.5 liter fluid reservoir. Compatible with any
10 liter multi-purpose backpack with 1.5 liter water tank
A lack of calcium ions in the body can also provoke the appearance of muscle cramps due to a decrease in the threshold of neuromuscular excitability.To prevent calcium deficiency, you must regularly consume foods that contain calcium in an easily digestible form. Lack of calcium in the blood increases the excitability of synapses – places of contact between nerve and muscle fibers, through which signals are transmitted that cause muscle contractions, which provokes an increased convulsive readiness. Calcium deficiency, in turn, can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, which regulates the metabolism of this mineral. Therefore, take foods and supplements containing these micronutrients to help prevent seizures.
Instant drink to replenish energy and vital minerals in the body in a convenient portion pack
Ampoule with magnesium solution. Promotes recovery and reduction of neuromuscular tension
Vitamin D3 is essential for maintaining immunity, healthy bones and teeth, cardiovascular system, restoring muscle functionality
The actual lack of elements in the athlete’s body is far from the only cause of seizures.Lateral flat feet and uneven distribution of the load on the foot leads to constant muscle fatigue, which increases the risk of seizures. Cold weather, tight trainers, oversized socks, or jogging socks also have a big effect on blood circulation. Muscles, experiencing excessive stress, stop working normally and spasm, starting involuntarily and sharply contracting Another negative factor is the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. If your legs are cramping on days free from jogging, or after running, this most likely indicates that the muscles are “acidified”.Pain and spasms cause decay products that are formed in the muscle as a result of intense exertion.
That is why, for the prevention of seizures, it is important not only to replenish the balance of trace elements, but also to choose the right equipment, and also devote time to recovery.
What to do if the leg is already bridged?
The main rule is – don’t panic! If the muscle is cramped, you will not be able to specifically relax it, you need to stretch it. To do this, try pulling the toe of your straight leg towards you.In a sitting position, you can try to perform a well-known stretching exercise, when the toe of a straight leg is wrapped around your hands and pulled towards yourself. Another way to bring the muscle “to life” is a sharp painful shock, for example, a pin prick. This method is especially popular when swimming in open water, when cramps can be associated with low temperatures.
Prevention is our everything
Summing up, in order not to face cramps, it is important to follow an integrated approach: monitor the water-salt balance and consume the necessary trace elements, do a cool down and warm-up before jogging, and take time to stretch.
It’s important to choose the running shoe that’s right for you: the wrong size or uncomfortable last can put extra pressure and strain on your muscles and tendons, leading to an increased risk of seizures. To find the right shoes, sign up for a shoe selection at any Runlab store.
Follow these recommendations, and let your workouts and races go without cramps and bring only pleasant impressions!
90,000 Convulsions – how to quickly overcome and how to save
Why are our muscles cramping? Because of what people most often encounter this unpleasant manifestation of the malfunctioning of the body cells? How to deal with a sudden spasm, and what macronutrients to eat to avoid painful sensations?
“It seems like a cramp”, “I have a muscle spasm”, “my legs are cramping, what to do” – we use these phrases if we experience strong painful sensations that sometimes make us scream or cry.Everyone has probably heard that it can bring legs together when swimming in cold water. For this reason, people very often drown.
By the way, as a rule, it is the spasm of the leg muscles that occurs, or more precisely, the twitching of the calf muscles, accompanied by severe pain in the leg. But there can be many manifestations of muscle spasm, and hiccups, nervous tics and twitching of the muscles surrounding the eyes should also be included here. Such seizures occur in pregnant women and the elderly, in young children and in patients with congenital disorders (a tendency to epilepsy).
Let’s not consider the option with epilepsy, it is difficult to miss such a disease. In healthy people, the involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscle group is often caused by a lack of magnesium in the body. Magnesium blocks the excessive influx of calcium into cells, as a result, there is no excessive tension of skeletal muscles and smooth muscles. This biological element contributes to their natural relaxation.
As you can see, the body also needs calcium. As a rule, it is not enough for pregnant women, hence the constant cramps in the calf muscles.If they happen only at night, then you should think about how to take a good position in a dream. Incorrect posture blocks blood vessels that saturate tissues with oxygen, and this is another factor that causes muscle spasm.
Another “friend” of a person suffering from frequent seizures is potassium. It is necessary for people for the normal functioning of the sodium-potassium pump, cells and all the same skeletal muscles.
For these reasons, most often, in order to overcome recurrent muscle spasms, experts recommend vitamin and mineral complexes containing potassium and magnesium.One of such complexes is Doppelgerz® active Magnesium + Potassium.
If you are sure that you do not have a lack of potassium and magnesium in your body, but suddenly your leg muscles are cramping, then it is best to just try to relax the muscle. When you are in severe pain, it can be difficult to do it on purpose. Therefore, we recommend using the advice of sports coaches: stand against the wall, lean on it with your hands and stretch the calf muscle with effort, pulling your leg back and resting your heel on the floor. This usually works well to relieve an approaching or developing spasm.If it reduces muscles during sports, then it is necessary to increase the intensity of the warming up exercises, and then do not forget to pull the muscles prone to cramps.
90,000 Night cramps in the legs: 7 tips to get rid of them
Convulsions are involuntary and uncontrollable muscle contractions. Your legs are especially painful at night when your whole body is relaxed and you are likely to be asleep. Here are some tips to help you ease an attack during the seizure itself, and also try to prevent it from occurring in the future.
It is important to understand that cramps in the calf muscles only signal a problem. Considering that among the causes of involuntary muscle contraction, experts call a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged uncomfortable position of the legs, varicose veins, neurological problems, endocrinological disorders and a number of diseases, for example, diabetes or hypothyroidism, first you need to identify the cause of this symptom and only then eliminate it.
1.Stretch the calf muscle
If your leg is cramped, the first thing the experts recommend is to do the famous stretching exercise. By the way, stretching can relieve a just-onset cramp and prevent it from recurring. In order for the sudden pain to disappear, you need to sit on a flat surface, clasp your toes, if possible, bend your body along this leg and pull the toe towards you. By regularly stretching your muscles, you can avoid future night cramps.
2. Massage the leg
If the cramp is severe and does not go away, you can pinch the sore spot several times or slightly prick it with a sharp object, and then massage it properly (for best effect, use a warming ointment). Why does it work? The fact is that massage perfectly stimulates blood circulation and helps to quickly eliminate sudden muscle cramps. You can also get up, stretch, and walk around. In addition, if you notice that cramps make themselves felt only at night, then it is better to sleep in warm socks and exclude postures of the legs and body during the night rest, which can lead to poor circulation.
3. Use a heating pad, ice or make a heating compress
Another good way to relieve cramps is to use a heating pad. You can also simply wrap a hot water bottle in a towel or wrap your leg in a warm towel to help relax muscles and relieve spasms. Interestingly, a cold compress can also relieve pain: attach an ice pack to the affected area or use frozen convenience foods, having previously wrapped them in a towel.At the same time, it is not recommended to keep such a compress for more than 10 minutes. Usually this time is enough for the pain to go away completely.
Prevention of seizures
Maintain correct drinking regime. Night cramps can be caused by dehydration, so it’s important to keep track of how much water you drink per day. Experts say that the average adult, depending on gender, age and physical activity, needs to consume 1.5-3 liters of water per day (a special calculator will help you calculate your individual daily allowance).
Exercise regularly. As one of the causes of seizures is a sedentary lifestyle, it is necessary to maintain physical activity. At the same time, it is important not to overdo it; you need to introduce sport into your life competently, best of all with a coach.
Eat right and balanced. Deficiencies in micronutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 can also cause muscle cramps.Take nutritional supplements (your doctor should prescribe the appropriate complexes and the recommended dose for you) and eat a varied diet that includes various fruits, vegetables, cereals, and dairy products. By the way, if you don’t know where to start to get closer to introducing proper nutrition into your life, try to start with these simple but effective four steps.
Take care of yourself. A person’s emotional state directly affects his physical health.Try to avoid stress, reduce the strain on your legs and choose comfortable shoes, get good rest after a working day, and get a good sleep.
We hope these tips will help you manage your sudden seizure and prevent it from recurring. Moreover, if the pains recur, this is a signal that you should immediately consult a doctor.
Maria Moro, Details
Magnesium for Skeletal Muscle Cramps – Garrison, SR – 2020
Magnesium for Muscle Cramps
We reviewed the evidence on the effects of magnesium supplementation on muscle cramps and included as wide a range of studies as possible.This meant that studies were included for everyone who suffered from muscle cramps, regardless of their cause. This also meant the inclusion of studies in which magnesium was given by any of the methods available. This includes swallowing as a tablet or liquid, slowly injecting it directly into the blood over several hours (“intravenous infusion”), and injecting it into the muscles (“intramuscular injection”). We included studies that compared magnesium with placebo, compared magnesium with no treatment, and compared magnesium with other existing therapies for seizures.We found 11 studies in total. To assess the benefits, we examined the effects of magnesium on seizure frequency, seizure pain and seizure duration, and looked at a number of participants who had a 25% or more reduction in seizure frequency. To assess potential harm, we looked at how often major and minor adverse health events occurred.
Muscle cramps are common and occur in a wide range of conditions.Elderly and pregnant women often complain of leg cramps when resting, athletes can experience cramps when they exceed their endurance limit, and some people develop muscle cramps as a symptom of other conditions. One potential way to prevent muscle cramps already on the market is to supplement with magnesium. Magnesium is a common mineral in our diets, and additional oral supplements from this mineral can be purchased either online or at health food stores and pharmacies (usually in the form of tablets or powders to dissolve in water).We wanted to combine the studies to get the best estimate of the effects of magnesium on seizures. We also wanted to study the effect of magnesium on various categories of people suffering from seizures, in case it can work in some conditions, it cannot in others.
We searched for all high quality published studies evaluating magnesium’s effectiveness in preventing muscle cramps and found five studies in older adults, five studies in pregnant women, and one study in people with cirrhosis.Studies in older adults included 271 participants (61.6-69.3 years), and studies in pregnant women included 408 participants. The only study in people with cirrhosis of the liver only included 29 people, not all of whom had seizures. There have been no studies of people who have had seizures while exercising. Magnesium was compared to placebo in nine out of 11 studies, as well as calcium, vitamin E, vitamins B₁ and B₆, and no treatment in two studies in pregnant women.The duration of the included studies ranged from 14 to 56 days. Magnesium was administered orally in 10 of 11 studies and as a four-hour intravenous infusion for five consecutive days in one study. Funding for the included studies came from the magnesium tablet manufacturer in two studies, independent sources in three studies, and was not provided in six studies.
Key results and certainty of evidence
The combined results from five seemingly robust studies suggest, with moderate certainty, that magnesium is unlikely to reduce the frequency or severity of muscle cramps in older adults.In contrast, five studies in pregnant women, which have significant limitations in their reliability (both in study design and in the presentation of results), did not show consistent results in terms of benefits and could not be combined. As a result, we are very uncertain whether pregnant women with muscle cramps will benefit from magnesium. The only study in people with cirrhosis found no difference in the frequency or intensity of seizures, but it was too small to draw conclusions.
More research is needed on the use of magnesium in pregnant women. The same is true for those who suffer from seizures associated with illness or exercise. However, older adults with seizures are unlikely to benefit from this therapy. Significant side effects were rare, and participants dropped out of the study with the same frequency when taking magnesium or a placebo. However, minor side effects, mainly diarrhea (as you would expect from magnesium salts) and nausea, were common and affected approximately 11% (10% in control) and 37% (14% in control) of participants.
This review is current as of September 2019.
Warning from the Ministry of Health in connection with the established hot weather.
Date of publication: .
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, in connection with the established hot weather, warns of the need to comply with the rules of safe behavior during rest and work with exposure to the open sun.
Please pay special attention to swimming in open water in designated areas and do not leave children swimming unattended.
We recommend that you follow your drinking regime and wear hats.
Heat and sunstroke: causes, symptoms and signs, first aid measures
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the human body is exposed to high temperatures, high humidity, dehydration and disruption of the body’s thermoregulation process.Most often, heatstroke develops during hard physical work in conditions of high temperature and humidity. Less commonly, heatstroke occurs due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight in hot weather. Regardless of the cause of heatstroke, you should immediately seek qualified medical help to prevent its complications (shock, damage to the brain and internal organs, death).
Causes of heatstroke:
- The main cause of heatstroke is exposure of the body to high temperatures in a high humidity environment.
- Heatstroke can also occur as a result of wearing warm and synthetic clothing, which prevents the body from generating heat.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can cause heatstroke. alcohol disrupts thermoregulation.
- Hot weather. If you are not used to the effects of high temperatures on the body, limit your physical activity for at least a couple of days in the event that there has been a sharp change in temperature.Heavy physical activity under the sun is a significant risk factor for heatstroke.
- Certain medicines also increase the risk of heatstroke. Drugs that increase the risk of heatstroke include: vasoconstrictors, diuretics, antidepressants, and antipsychotics
Which people are at the highest risk of developing heatstroke?
Anyone can get heatstroke, but some people, due to their physiological characteristics, are at greater risk of getting heatstroke than others.
The highest risk of thermal shock are exposed to:
Children and the elderly. In newborns, thermoregulatory processes are not fully developed, so they have an increased risk of getting heatstroke. In older people, thermoregulation decreases with age, which also leads to an increased risk of heatstroke. Also, pregnant women are at risk of getting heatstroke.
Genetic predisposition.Some researchers believe that there are people with genetic characteristics of the body that increase the risk of heat stroke (congenital absence of sweat glands, cystic fibrosis).
Symptoms and signs of heatstroke:
- High body temperature (40 C and above) is the main symptom of heatstroke.
- Heatstroke often causes thirst.
- Lack of perspiration. Heatstroke caused by hot weather makes the skin hot and dry to the touch.And with heatstroke caused by strenuous physical work, the skin is usually moist, sticky.
- Heatstroke often causes skin reddening.
- Rapid breathing is also a common symptom of heatstroke.
- With heatstroke, the heart rate rises sharply.
- Also, with heatstroke, a throbbing headache can develop.
- Less commonly, with heatstroke, symptoms such as: convulsions, hallucinations, loss of consciousness occur.
Heat cramps may develop if the human body is exposed to high temperatures. Heat cramps are precursors of heatstroke. The first signs of heat cramps are profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst, muscle cramps in the abdomen, legs and arms. Drinking plenty of fluids, combining exercise with rest, and working in a well-ventilated or air-conditioned room are recommended to prevent the first signs of heatstroke, such as muscle cramps.
Complications of heatstroke
Heatstroke can cause complications such as shock. The first signs of shock with heatstroke are: weak pulse (low blood pressure), blue lips and nails, skin becomes cold and damp, loss of consciousness. All these changes in the body lead to the development of edema of internal organs and the brain. The edema, in turn, leads to irreversible damage to internal organs and the brain and death.
First aid for heatstroke at home:
If you experience the first symptoms of heatstroke, call an ambulance immediately. If you are unable to call emergency medical attention, the following measures should be taken:
- If you experience the first symptoms of heatstroke and are outside, immediately enter a cool, air-conditioned room. Such premises can be a shopping center, a cinema, etc.d.
- Take off tight clothing, untie your tie, take off your shoes.
- In case of heat stroke, wrap yourself in a damp sheet or turn on the fan.
- If possible, take a cool shower or bath.
- Heat stroke occurs not only as a result of dehydration, but also as a result of the loss of salts with sweat. Therefore, in case of heatstroke, it is recommended to drink 1 liter of water with the addition of 2 teaspoons of salt.
- In case of heatstroke, never drink alcoholic beverages or beverages with a high caffeine content (tea, coffee, cappuccino), sincebecause these drinks disrupt the thermoregulation of the body.
- Ice bags can also be applied to the neck, back, underarms and groin to lower body temperature.
Heat stroke is a very serious condition, but with simple measures you can easily prevent it.
- Wear light clothing made from natural materials (linen, cotton), this will avoid the development of heatstroke.
- If possible, install an air conditioner in the house.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially during the warmer months, to reduce the risk of heatstroke.
- Always consult your doctor before using any medication.
- Never leave the car in the sun. If this does happen, do not sit in a hot car for more than 10 minutes.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity during hot seasons. Take rest breaks from time to time while doing work, and drink plenty of fluids.
- Children should be supervised to ensure that they do not play under the sun in hot weather.
More complete information on first aid in case of heat and sunstroke is available on the website of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus under the heading “Patient Handbook”.
How to Relieve Recurrent Cramps: Exercise and Home Remedies
Author: Female staff
The menstrual cycle, between unpleasant cramps, fatigue and chest pain, does not leave you feeling like you can conquer the world.What helps with cramps naturally may seem like a mystery. However, there are ways to learn how to relieve menstrual cramps with exercise and home remedies. Exercising while Aunt Flo is in town can help you feel better and more natural and healthy. Exercise can relieve the symptoms of uncomfortable periods for many women. Whether you are heading for a regular sports activity or walking in the local area, you can experience these benefits of exercise.
Relief from menstrual cramps
Naturally, exercise helps with cramps. Exercise provides double the benefits of cramps. First, when you exercise, your brain releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block pain receptors in your brain, helping to stop pain signals from uterine spasms and contractions. Aerobic exercise, even a brisk walk, can release endorphins and provide some pain relief.
Exercise also improves blood circulation throughout the body, including the uterus.When you have a seizure, your uterus contracts so hard that it blocks the blood flow that sends pain signals to your brain. By opening these blood vessels to increase circulation, you may be able to relieve menstrual cramps.
Better mood during menstruation
Endorphins offer other benefits as well. They can improve mood and anxiety associated with menstruation. Again, any exercise that makes your heart beat faster, even a brisk walk or hike, can release the positive benefits of endorphins.
More energy during menstruation
Exercise can also help you solve low energy problems. When you exercise, you strengthen your heart so that it can supply more blood and oxygen throughout your body, including your brain. Exercise can also help relieve stress (another benefit of endorphins), which can lower your energy levels throughout the day. Finally, exercise can improve sleep so you can make the most of your eight hours or so of rest.
Less painful recurrent headaches
If you have menstrual headaches, increased circulation and the production of endorphins can help make the headache less painful or even help it go away completely. Thus, exercise is a home remedy for menstrual cramps and painful headaches.
Menstrual exercise tips
Exercise during menstruation should not cause discomfort.Learn how to ease your menstrual cramps and make your life easier with these tips:
- You may consider taking ibuprofen or naproxen sodium in the morning to relieve cramps and pain.
- Wear a supportive, well-fitting sports bra that holds your breasts in place and helps reduce soreness when moving.
- Wear a tampon and an ultra-thin panty liner to prevent leakage through the leggings.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and relieve bloating.
- Consider wearing looser, more comfortable clothing than your regular yoga pants.
Remember that if you have severe menstrual cramps and pain that disrupts your life, you should talk to your doctor. Severe pain can result from a condition such as endometriosis.
At Women’s Care, our obstetricians / gynecologists can help diagnose the cause of your menstrual pain.We treat all women’s health conditions and can help you relieve menstrual pain. Contact us today to find out more or make an appointment.