Our body has two main types of muscles; voluntary and involuntary muscles. Involuntary muscles contract and relax without our intentions such as muscles in our stomach, intestines, airways, eyes, urinary tract and many others. The voluntary muscles are those muscles under our control through which we determine movements we want to make, like walking, eating, fighting, typing and so forth.
Sometimes these muscles contract and relax very repeatedly resulting in uncontrollable movements of the whole body or part of the body; this may be accompanied by loss of bowel control, urinary incontinence, cessation of breathing and even unconsciousness.
Many lay-people confuse convulsions and epilepsy, convulsion is a symptom of epilepsy but not all convulsions are caused by epilepsy.
Our concern today is convulsion not due to epilepsy. Next week we shall discuss epilepsy.
1. Q. What is Convulsion?
A. Convulsion (also called SEIZURES) is a medical condition characterized by uncontrollable movements of the whole body or part of the body, occasionally accompanied by loss of bowel control, urinary incontinence, cessation of breathing and even unconsciousness. This is as a result of repeated and rapid impulses from the whole brain or a section of the brain.
2. Q. What Causes Convulsion?
A. Non-epileptic convulsions could be caused by any of the following conditions: high fever especially in children due to malaria, withdrawal from drug/alcohol abuse, head injury, complication of pregnancy (eclampsia), low blood sugar, high blood sugar, heart/vessel diseases, infections of the brain/nerves such as meningitis, encephalitis and finally brain tumors.
This type of convulsion stops once the underlying cause is removed.
3. Q. Can Convulsion Spread?
A. Convulsion is not a communicable disease; it cannot spread from one person to another
4. Q. When Do You Suspect Someone May Have Convulsion?
A. Symptoms and signs of convulsions include severe headache, mood alteration, weakness, jerking movement of one leg or arm followed by generalized rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles resulting in un- controllable movements of the whole body.
Such a person should be taken to hospital immediately as the condition is life threatening, call an ambulance if the service is available.
If the person is under five years old and has high fever, tepid–sponge him to bring down the fever while on the way to hospital.
5. Q. What Can Put You at Risk of Convulsion?
A. Those at risk of having non-epilepytic convulsions include under 5 years children living in the Tropics where malaria is ever present, pregnant women with uncontrolled high blood pressure, drug/alcohol abusers, diabetics, .
6. Q. What are the Possible Complications of Convulsion?
A. Complications of convulsions include injuries, aspiration of vomit,
7. Q. How can you prevent Convulsion?
A. Non-epileptic convulsions can be prevented by the use of drugs, change in lifestyle and treatment of the under-lying cause.