Department of Neurology

Diagnosis of hypoglycemic seizures

Q: After reading much about epilepsy, I've come to the conclusion that my wife is suffering from Myoclonic Epilepsy. She has had full seizures with convulsions approximately every month to 2 months. A friend of mine feels that her problem may be hypoglycemia. Is there an obvious difference between the seizures? My wife's seizures almost always occur while sleeping & she has migrane headaches for the next day or two, as well as 10 or 20 partial seizures for the next 2 days following her convulsion (partial seizures as in, feeling of "deja vu", blankness, nausea, discoloration, these only last for a few seconds). Do these kind of partial seizures (common to epilepsy) occur in someone who is suffering from hypoglycemic seizures?

Sincerely, Josh


A: The only way to determine whether her seizures are due to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) would be to draw her blood glucose level during, or immediately after, a seizure. If you take her to the emergency room or there is a emergency medical technician present, they can draw blood to measure this. If she is hypoglycemic her insulin regimen may require adjustment. Conversely, if her glucose is not low, she may need to be on seizure medications.

Although you and your friend's interest in her diagnosis is important and well meaning, you should probably leave your wife's diagnosis to a neurologist or other physician to help assure that she receives the proper diagnosis and management. The spells you describe do not sound like myoclonic seizures.

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