11 December 2012

Zambia: Health Feature - Understanding Convulsions

IN medicine, convulsions are termed as a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles.

The eyeballs frequently roll upward or to one side during a convulsion, breathing appears laboured, and saliva oozes from the mouth.

The teeth usually are tightly clenched, sometimes causing serious bites to the tongue and the cheeks.

Convulsions are a common symptom of epilepsy. They also occur in young children as a part of the reaction of the body to infection. Such convulsions, called febrile convulsions, usually last only a few minutes and are not dangerous.

Other causes of convulsions are virus infections; brain tumors or haemorrhages; toxemias, such as uremia or lead or cocaine poisoning, chemical disorders, such as hypoglycemia and acute or chronic alcoholism.

A nurse or doctor may be consulted about any form of convulsion and advice will be given accordingly.

Treatment for convulsions is directed toward protection of the victim from self-injury, though interventions to avoid tongue biting remain debatable.

Anticonvulsant drugs may be administered if need is assessed.

In our Zambian set up as part of Africa's strong conservative tradition, there are many myths related to the act of convulsing, especially in the patients with epilepsy.

It will be my pleasure if you may bring those to my attention but I can assure you most of them are not factual.

Even though, factors leading to occurrence of convulsion may be avoided in many ways by simply avoiding the stressful factors causing mental fatigue and infection prevention of common ailments like malaria.

In summary, life may be made easier if at all the person suffering from any disorders causing convulsion takes note of precipitating factors in order to avoid recurrence.

In terminal stages of AIDS or in HIV encephalopathy where brain meninges are involved, a person may experience his/her first convulsions in an adult stage but not every one may be affected.

Make a date today with your nearest clinician or physician as we bring better health as closest to your family as possible and be part of matters pertaining to your health.

Copyright © 2012 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.