Myoclonic seizures are characterized by the rapid jerky movements experienced by the patient. This HealthHearty article explains the associated problems and symptoms of this type of seizure. Have a look.
What are Myoclonic Seizures
Do not confuse myoclonic seizures with myclonic jerks. Myo means ‘muscle’ and clonic means ‘jerk’. These seizures typically feel the same as being hit by an electric jolt. Usually, children and adults with generalized epilepsy tend to experience these seizures. These may affect the facial muscles, arms, legs, and torso of a person. The jerks may be sudden and rapid in nature, making the movements quite similar to that of an electric shock. The pattern of the jerks may be specific or random. However, mostly these seizures occur for a brief amount of time.
Myoclonic syndrome occurs in association with different epilepsy syndromes. These syndromes are explained as follows.
Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy
These are idiopathic generalized epileptic syndrome seizures. These seizures affect adolescents around their puberty or early adulthood, and occur around the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. They need lifelong medication to be kept under control.
This syndrome occurs in early childhood and is very difficult to control. Seizures tend to occur in areas such as, the neck, shoulders, upper arms, and face.
Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsy
This syndrome occurs with the combination of myoclonic seizures as well as tonic-clonic seizures. The treatment of progressive myoclonic epilepsy is not very successful as the condition deteriorates with time.
Causes of Myoclonic Seizure Disorder
Myoclonic seizure disorder occurs within the brain. These are generalized seizures that affect both sides of the brain. The causes include a response to an infection, head or spinal cord injury, stroke, brain tumors, kidney failure, liver failure, lipid storage disease, and so on. Medication and chemicals that cause side effects also lead to this condition.
When a person is given general anesthesia, he/she may develop benign seizures. Lack of oxygen to the brain for a prolonged time may lead to Posthypoxic myoclonus. Neurological disorders that lead to myoclonic seizure disorder include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, lupus, and opsoclonus myoclonus.
Myoclonic seizures are usually experienced after getting up in the mornings. These seizures tend to be very frustrating as they may make one prone to accidents such as, spilling coffee, dropping food, and other such incidents in and around the house. Let us have a look at the symptoms in patients of different age groups.
Symptoms in Children
Children may experience one or more muscle jerks. These jerks may occur on the shoulders, arms, legs, or the entire body. The child is conscious and the jerks are usually seen. However, in some cases, the jerks are not visible at all. However, the child may complain of a shock-like feeling in his muscles. You might see the child suddenly throws away mugs or jugs from his hand or drops his toothbrush from his hand. You might think the child is still sleepy or being notorious. But, if this becomes a regular scenario every morning, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms in Adults
The symptoms are similar to children. Adults may experience jerks due to rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles. In some cases, a few people may suffer from hypnic jerks while falling asleep. Severe myoclonic seizures may disrupt a person’s ability to talk, eat, walk, and sleep. The person may also experience abnormal body movements and twitching.
The treatment includes medications such as benzodiazepine and clonazepam. These medications tend to have side effects that may make a person clumsy and uncoordinated. Prolonged use may make these medications lose their effectiveness. The seizures can also be controlled by administering barbiturates and antiepileptics that are used to treat epilepsy.
Although, not life-threatening, myoclonic seizures can turn into a very debilitating condition. Visit a doctor for further evaluation and treatment options.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for an expert medical advice.