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Old 07-16-2005, 10:09 AM   #1
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Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

What is the difference between generalized seizures and epilepsy?
When I called the Drs office the other day to get a better clarification on what was going on, I asked the girl who answered the phone if she could tell me my diagnosis, she said it was generalized seizures. I asked if that was the same as epilepsy and she said No.

Any help here? lol

 
Old 07-16-2005, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

I have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder and not epilepsy. But when I press my Neuro for answers, he admits that he truly doesn't know!

Shelly

 
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Old 07-16-2005, 03:32 PM   #3
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Epilepsy = 2 or more unprovoked seizures
unprovoked = a seizure under usual physiological circumstances -- a seizure due to an acute cocaine intoxication would be provoked.

generalized seizure = the seizure starts in the entire cortex simultaneously
partial seizure = the seizure starts in one part of the brain and may (or may not) spread to other regions.

Hope this helps.

 
Old 07-16-2005, 03:42 PM   #4
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

I wish I had the web address- but they're listed in a lot of places, so I'm not even sure I got it from their site (don't want to be breaking posting rules, but this seems pretty general), but look for International Classification of Epilepsies and Epilepsy Syndromes....there are dozens if not hundreds of different types of seizures...most depending on where in the brain they start. Seizure disorder and epilepsy are usually considered the same thing, unless there's some sort of other cause for the seizures (metabolic, like low blood sugar, low sodium, etc), or non-epileptic seizure events (used to be called pseudoseizures, but that implied that people were deliberately causing them, which is actually malingering or facticious disorder).... hard to pin things down.

Mostly- for actual seizures/epilepsy, it only means that part or all of the brain is involved when they call seizures partial or generalized. What really matters are the symptoms you have, the safety risk, the meds that will help, and how well they're controlled....Usually, generalized seizures mean some alteration or loss of consciousness, where partial seizures can have full awareness or loss/alteration of consciousness, and both can lead to generalized seizures. Not all generalized seizures involve the "stereotypical" arm/leg movements....some involve staring off into space, then picking back up where the person left off....some partial seizures involve just the little finger twitching, while others cause a lot more "activitiy"..... You deserve to get the answers you need for YOUR medical care...if this doc isn't providing the answers you need to participate in your own care, get a new one... you are the customer...not just the patient, and can "fire" anyone who works for you, and your doctor is supposed to be working for you...

 
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Old 07-16-2005, 05:48 PM   #5
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Yeah, I don't do drugs, so that one is out for me.

I'm not faking, my doctor is quick to let me know that. I already asked, because I saw it on an episode of ER.LOL

I have staring seizures, mostly. But my last one was a bad, like deja-vu thing. It is posted somewhere on here under my "ibeeshell' if you would like to read it. It scared me very bad.

This whole thing just started out of the blue for me last Nov. with a Grand mahl. So I am new to it all.

I take 100 am and 150 pm of Topomax and I seem to be under control right now.

My neuro wants me to see an E doc. But right now, we are trying to dig out from under the financial landslide of all my test and ER visits from the last 6 months.

Shelly

 
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Old 07-16-2005, 08:26 PM   #6
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Thank you all for your help! I'm wondering if maybe my diagnosis has something to do with the fact that we don't know what causes my seizures yet? As far as I know, it's not caused by anything at all (no injuries, illnesses, all blood tests done and perfect) but him and I haven't talk about what causes them yet but I do have an appt with him on the 25th of this month. So, as I said, I wonder if he gave me "generalized seizures" as a diagnosis until he figures out why they're occuring?

Also, when he talked to me he told me he was 99% sure they're complex partial seizures so I guess it does make sense
Thanks for your help all
lkmenges, I hope you get your answers soon! I'm still learning about this too, so I am really not much help at all!

 
Old 07-16-2005, 11:01 PM   #7
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

A lot of times, no specific cause is found....they just happen....

 
Old 07-17-2005, 06:29 AM   #8
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Yeah, I've heard. I'm pretty sure that's what's going to end up being my case too.
My mom keeps saying "But you have to remember.." and then lists a bunch of things that may have caused them, but I personally feel that I was too young for those things to have caused them. ie: walking pneumonia when I was 8 months old (almost died from), pretty bad head injury at age 8, another head injury as a toddler (forgot the age), and also a period from ages 3-5 where I would randomly fall over to my side. lol
I personally don't think they'd be connected bc my seizures didn't start until I was 17

 
Old 07-17-2005, 09:05 AM   #9
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Seizures can start long after the injury.....my mom had a brain tumor- removed, radiation, chemo...her seizures didn't start for another 12 years....
Most of my head injuries were between the ages of 11-14 (a couple concussions after that, but most were younger)...I wasn't diagnosed until age 22..... The brain will compensate for a long time, and then something seemingly trivial can push it over the edge.....

The most important thing is to get them controlled, and have a doc who works for YOU....

 
Old 07-17-2005, 10:54 AM   #10
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

When I was 3, I fell from a second story window. I landed on grass, but I had a bad concussion. At 13, I fell from my horse and was hurt pretty bad. At 18 I hit black ice and had a car accident and had a pretty good concussion too. Those have been my only head traumas.

My MRI, that they did in DEC 04, showed slight scarring in my front temperal, (I can't remember what side, thank you, Topomax). So I wonder if my seizures now aren't caused from my fall from that window 35 years ago.

My neighbores Mom, was beaten unconcious alot by her abusive husband for years. Now at 89, she has started seizing. The doctors have said it is from all the head injuries.

My therapist tells me that sometimes when there is no diagnosis of E, that seizures can be from post traumatic stress, too.

I don't know, but if I sat around and thought about it too hard, I'de have another damned seizure!!!!!LOL

Shelly

 
Old 07-17-2005, 10:57 AM   #11
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Hmmm....never heard of emotional disorder causing epilepsy--emotional stress can trigger already present epilepsy, and produce seizures, but the physiological disorder is already present, unless it's the 'non-epileptic event' or whatever they call it now..... but the fall from the window is pretty significant.... and a lot of behavioral stuff is really seizures...did you have any behavioral changes as a kid?

 
Old 07-17-2005, 11:20 AM   #12
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

No, I don't think I any behavior changes. I never had seizures or any of that.

I had my first grand mahl just last Nov. out of the blue.

I just wonder now if my fall as a small child would now be coming back to haunt me.

My Neuro has diagnosed me with a stress seizure disorder. Yet, no one else seems to have ever heard of such a thing. Even other docs sort of look at me sideways. When I told the therapist that, he said that some people could have seizures due to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom. But I don't fit that catagory, as I have not gone thru anything overly traumatic.

But when I pushed my Nuero this last visit for answers, he admited that he doesn't really know and until I see an E specialist and do the whole video EEG and all that, they won't know about epilepsy for sure. To me, he is straddling the fence! Sometimes, I would like to take hold of both his legs and give a good jerk, but then...............

That wouldn't be very nice!!!!! LOL

Shelly

 
Old 07-17-2005, 11:35 AM   #13
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

I think I'd be aiming to maim some other part of his anatomy, but if you're a leg person.... ....."stress seizure disorder".....Man, I'd want some serious clarification on that one....that sounds like he's blowing you off without actually blowing you off (just my opinion)... but giving you meds for something that the meds aren't used for? Can you do some doc shopping? (and whatever you do, don't just stop the meds...regardless of reasons for them, you don't want to ever just stop a seizure med).

You DESERVE answers to these questions, and if this doc is being wishy washy, find someone who will be straight with you, and let you know what's really going on....nothing worse than the unknown when medical stuff is being worked up.....

When is the video/EEG (of course, those are only really diagnositic if you have seizures during them, but yours are probably frequent enough to get some good info)....???

This has to be SO frustrating.....I know what my deal is (and still get bent out of shape about it, but at least I know), and usually do pretty well....the last year and a half have been horrible, but at least I can talk to my primary doc....my neurologist is good, but like talking to a stuffed fish on a wall...

 
Old 07-17-2005, 11:56 AM   #14
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Ok, well first of all maybe I should have said "jerk downward" cause that other part was what I was getting at maiming? LOL

Second, I do have seizures and do need the meds. I get breakthru's and have to switch meds. So far Topomax seems to work the best for me, althought I recently had a pretty bad one and am now in the process of having it upped.

I won't just stop taking them, I will never put my family thru the hell of the grand mahl again. My 17 year old son and his best friend found me in the livingroom and basically kept me from aspirating on my own vomit until the ambulance got there. My son is still scared everytime he sees me start to stare off and smack with my mouth. I hate what I have done to him! The meds are definately the lesser of the two evils for me.

I never pushed my Neuro before and I did not like him. Now I push and he gives me answers. His answer is honest, I need to see a Neuro who specializes in E and they need to look deeper. He wants me taken off meds in a controlled enviro and allowed to seize, so I can be evaluated.

I also have a regular doc who I see and she is wonderful. She works with my Neuro to regulate my meds and I can talk very easily with her.

I am also angry about what this has done to my family, my life and to my sense of well being. But I can't change it, so I am trying to look forward! I have 5 jrts and I love them to pieces, I also have ponds and flower gardens to play with! So I keep busy!

Shelly

 
Old 07-17-2005, 02:34 PM   #15
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Re: Difference between Generalized Seizures and Epilepsy?

Have you had other types of seizures before the grand mal? I've got an aunt who had one grand mal seizure as a result of a medication she was taking...doesn't have epilepsy, and didn't get put on meds- just taken off that one....there are so many types of seizures, and a lot aren't recognized unless an E is looking for the answers.

I'm glad you like your regular doc and they're coordinating things for you. And taking you off the meds in a controlled environment makes sense, so they can find out how best to treat what's going on-- there are so many new meds, compared to when i was first diagnosed (1986-- but had problems with sz before then, but as a teenager was blown off)

I had a grand mal at a birthday party when I was 16....temp had gone way up, but not sure if the temp caused the seizure, or the seizure caused the temp....at any rate, my folks ignored it, even after being called at 3 a.m. to come get me.....don't think I've been to many parties since then, come to think of it !!!

It is maddening. My life was working. I loved being useful, and having a sense of purpose.Before moving back here - 1300 miles from where I'd been for 17 years- things were pretty stable...had the occasional breakthrough, or bad week, but then was ok....and one boss just stuck a mattress in my office, and fixed me up to be safe...knew I'd get the work done when I could-- amazing support. Now I fill out forms for disability and assistance that I never EVER thought I'd do, but have to, or will have to become a street person. The home health people want me to go to some big medical center when Medicaid comes through, which I don't have any problem with, except for getting there. They also don't want me driving-- think I said somewhere that I agreed to not go far, but the grocery store is literally 1/4 mile away, and a SuperWally world is only about 1 1/2 miles--and anything else you can think of in between....doc's office is about 2 miles, and therapy is about a mile, so I don't have a very big "world"...and no contact with other people since I don't work, unless it's "clinical' people.... I miss seeing co-workers.

 
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