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Do theta wave spikes on an EEG always mean there is a seizure disorder?
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alb402 posted:
I recently had an MRI, sleep study, and EEG done d/t waking up in the middle of the night confused and with a headache. The MRI and sleep study both came back benign (only sinus mucousal thickening on the MRI), but the EEG showed interictal theta spikes coming from the left parietal lobe. During the EEG, the flashing lights sent me into an "episode" (I began to get a really bad headache and my muscles tensed which lead to shaking for about 5 minutes) and the tech didn't feel we should complete the hyperventilating portion. However, the EEG only showed 3-4 spikes throughout the EEG, not ongoing seizure activity. I fell down the steps and had a seizure from head trauma when I was 3 and they feel this may be causing me to have seizure activity. I left the office with Lamictal and was told to come back in 2 months to get my labs checked. My question is: do these theta wave spikes definitively mean I have a seizure disorder? I was told my whole life these "attacks" that I have are anxiety attacks (I do have an elevated anxiety level). I'm hesitant to start the medication without knowing 100% that I am having seizures. I never lose consciousness or lose control of my bladder/bowel. These attacks do seem to happen more frequently when I have my period (possibly hormone related?). Any insight would be appreciated!
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dancer86442 responded:
Hello alb,

Welcome to our Community. If you would like to read my story, please clik on my ID or profile pic.

First, seizures do not always include loss of consciousness or bladder/bowel control. Yes, the Spikes mean seizure activity at the time of the test. Typical Seizures can be 5-10 seconds up to 5 minutes. Anything over 2-3 minutes is considered Dangerous. The fact your readings occurred during a sleep study, sounds to me like you have them while Asleep. These are known as Nocturnal Seizures. Next: Anxiety attacks can mimic seizure activity. They diagnosed my daughter w/ Anxiety/panic attacks, until they placed her in an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit & did a Video EEG. Yes, Head traumas can cause seizures, too. But, Did you tell your DR about the Timing? Cuz,Your mthly can be One of your Triggers! These are known as Catamenial Seizures. More Info in our Resources. (you Can have more than one seizure Type/trigger)

Please read Journal Info under Tips & start one ASAP. And Definitely: Start taking your Lamictal. Your Journal will be a very Important Tool while adjusting to your medication, also.

Please keep us up dated. If you have more questions or just need someone to talk/vent w/ we will be here for you. Hugs!

Love Candi
 
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alb402 replied to dancer86442's response:
Hi Candi,

Thank you so much for your reply! The spikes were actually during a sleep-deprived EEG so I was drowsy, but awake. My sleep study showed no seizure activity as far as I know. Sorry I had to limit my initial post d/t a character limit restriction so I didn't get to fully explain everything.

I did tell the neurologist initially about them happening more frequently during my period and they said about possibly getting my birth control pills changed so I take the active pills continuously. I also have endometriosis and had a laporoscopy in '08 to remove adhesions. However, I'm concerned about taking the BC pills all the time due to risk of blood clotting.

I'm leaning towards trying to identify my triggers and try to eliminate them to see if I feel better. Especially since my seizures appear to be partial seizures at this time and my MRI didn't show any brain scarring. However, it is difficult for me to really differentiate if I'm having a seizure or anxiety attack since the symptoms I experience didn't show full blown seizure activity on the EEG. Can your brain start to develop seizure activity, fix it, then send your body into an anxiety attack? I frequently start to feel out of it, with a headache that feels similar to a sinus headache and some shortness of breath/feelings of not getting enough oxygen. Then my body tenses (mainly my legs) and begins to shake for about 5 minutes or so. I'm fully awake and aware of what's going on during these "attacks". Also throughout the day I get little spells of dizziness/feeling out of it, but it usually passes pretty quickly. It's so hard to tell if what I'm experiencing is really seizure activity!

I'm hoping to see a naturopathic doctor within the next couple of months (the next available appt isn't until August) to try to narrow down triggers and try some natural ways of reducing my symptoms. I don't want to be a "non-compliant" patient and not take the medication, but I'm a nurse and have seen/heard some of the debilitating side effects of anti-eleptics. I saw that your sister has been keeping control of her seizures with diet and progesterone cream. Did she go to a naturopathic doctor to learn to do this?

Thanks again for your input! It's nice to talk to other people that are going through something similar. No one else really understands and this is all so new to me I definitely wasn't expecting to learn I have seizures after being sent for a sleep study by my PCP.
 
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dancer86442 replied to alb402's response:
Hi alb, Thank you for replying. Definitely Stick Around & talk w/ us. I Know how Important it is to be Able to talk to others' who have similar or same issues w/ Epilepsy/seizure disorders.

Yes, my Sister had been seeing a Homeopathic MD about her Diabetes. She Finally confessed to a Homeopathic MD about her seizure activity. She had experienced Nocturnal, then Catamenial & possibly other Types since infant/toddler age. Same as me. Only hers didn't go into remission. (I knew nothing about her's until After my seizures developed.) Anyway, She was 52, when a Severe Bout of Depression hit her. (Vitamin D has been proven to be low or non-existent in women w/ Epilepsy, thus various degrees of depression can Happen) Daily thoughts of Offing Herself Scared her! So, she confessed. She had refused meds after trying Dilantin at age 12-13. She is Fortunate to still be w/ us.

Headaches/Migraines have been associated w/ Epilepsy, Sometimes B4 as a 'warning', other times afterwards as a postictal symptom or as I say: Aftermath of a Seizure.

My Daughter said her BC Pills did More to cause seizure/anxiety attacks then control them. You can chek w/ your Pharmacist about that!

Once you start keeping a Journal, you will notice Patterns. This will Help you Identify Triggers, but, will/can Help your DR, also, in determining what's what.

Now that you have learned you Have seizures, it is Time to Learn More about Epilepsy. There are Many Aspects, but, all worth learning. How to Cope. How to Adjust. Safety & seizure First Aide. How to be Open w/ others' & Don't Let Epilepsy Rule! Education is Power! Support is Essential! I'm Always Here for You! Hugs! I apologize if I left anything out. If I did, just repeat the question.

Love Candi


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