Is my child ignoring us?
My son just returned to school and his teacher has already called saying he isn’t paying attention in class. He was diagnosed a few months ago with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and he takes medicine for it daily, but I just don’t believe that’s his problem. It’s true that he sometimes ignores instructions, giving a blank stare as if he doesn’t understand what is being said, but he is not a bad child. Could something else be wrong with him?
Your child may not be ignoring you; he may have a different kind of medical condition.
Contrary to popular belief, all seizures do not make a person lose consciousness and control of their muscles. In fact, some seizures are fairly mild such as simply staring into space, blinking rapidly, chewing or being unaware or unresponsive. “Petit mal” or partial” seizures may last only a few seconds, and are often mistaken for daydreaming, lack of attention or ADD/ADHD, except to the trained eye of a seizure specialist like Dr. Willis Courtney.
Seizures are more common than most people think. Many people have seizures at some point in their life for a variety of reasons. Seizures may be a symptom of kidney or liver failure, stroke, or even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). A person may also suffer a seizure due to a high fever, an infection of the brain, or an allergic reaction to drugs or alcohol. Inadequate levels of vitamins or minerals in the bloodstream can also trigger seizures. People who have repeated seizures are considered to have a seizure disorder, commonly called epilepsy. With so many different types of seizures caused by various conditions, diagnosing and treating them properly requires in-depth knowledge. That’s why it is so important to see a doctor who is a specialist in this particular field (epileptologist). A seizure specialist stays up-to-date on the latest medications, technology, and treatment options available.
The proper diagnosis of epilepsy is critical to effective treatment. People who witness relatively mild seizures often mistake them for the wrong problem or condition and may take the wrong course of action, causing more problems than the condition itself. Unfortunately, many children are incorrectly diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD (attention deficit (hyperactivity] disorder) when they are actually having seizures. ADD/ADHD is a serious medical condition, and depending upon the severity of the problem, it may also involve taking medication. As a result, it should not be taken lightly. Anytime anyone has been diagnosed with something that will affect his or her life and future, a second opinion should always be seriously considered.
When do seizures begin?
I was surprised to learn that my 32-year-old brother-in-law recently developed epilepsy. I always thought epilepsy was a disease you were born with. What should I do if he ever has a seizure when I am around?
Epilepsy is more common than most people think, affecting one in every 150 to 200 people. Epilepsy is not a disease; it’s a symptom of a problem in the brain (neurologic disorder) that shows itself most commonly in the form of seizures. Seizures may strike anyone at anytime for various reasons. Recent studies show that auto accidents account for approximately 20,000 new cases of seizure disorders each year. In addition to epilepsy, seizures may also be a symptom of kidney or liver failure, stroke, or even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). A person may also suffer a seizure due to a high fever, an infection of the brain, or an allergic reaction to drugs or alcohol. Inadequate levels of vitamins or minerals in the bloodstream can also trigger seizures.
Often, the actual cause of a seizure is unknown. In addition to the possible medical conditions listed above, seizures may be related to damage of the central nervous system before, during, or just after birth, head injuries, disorders of the circulatory system, tumors (usually in the brain), or poisoning. Seizure disorders may also run in families or be caused by genetic factors.
Some seizures may end on their own, but there are several ways to help a person having a seizure:
• Don’t panic. Stay calm and talk in a reassuring, comforting voice
• Break the fall. People having a seizure may lose their muscle control and fall down, often harming themselves. Help them lie down and slide something soft underneath the person’s head.
• Increase comfort and safety. Roll the person on his or her side to prevent choking on food or fluids. Remove eyeglasses and loosen tight clothing. Clear the area of potential hazards by removing any sharp or hard objects.
• Look for a medical ID. Some people with seizure disorders wear a medical necklace, bracelet or carry a card with important information. If you do not find any form of medical identification and you are unsure if the person has a seizure disorder, seek medical attention as soon as possible by calling 911.