My Blog

Posts for: April, 2014

By Rosalyn M. Aranas, M.D.
April 16, 2014
Category: Neurology
Tags: Epilepsy  
If you or a loved one has been newly diagnosed with epilepsy it can be scary and overwhelming to understand. You may have a lot of questions about epilepsy, so let’s take a closer look at epilepsy, what it is and everything in between so that you can better understand.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system.  It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by a known medical condition. In other terms, they were unprovoked, which means they were not brought on by a clear cause such as alcohol withdrawal, heart problems or extremely low blood sugar.  The seizures experienced might be the result of a hereditary tendency or a brain injury, but the cause is ultimately unknown.
It is often hard to pinpoint the exact cause of epilepsy in a particular individual, but some things that can make a person more likely to develop epilepsy are:
  • A brain injury caused by a car crash or bike accident
  • An infection or illness that affected the developing brain of a fetus during pregnancy
  • Lack of oxygen to an infant’s brain during childbirth
  • Meningitis, or any type of infection that affects the brain
  • Brain tumors or strokes
  • Poisoning such as lead or alcohol poisoning
Epilepsy is not contagious and it is not passed down through families in the same way your blue eyes or brown hair are. However, someone who has a close relative with epilepsy may have a slightly higher risk for it than someone who has no family history of seizures.
Contact our office today for more information on epilepsy and to learn about your options.

By Rosalyn M. Aranas, M.D.
April 16, 2014
Category: Neurology
Tags: Headaches  
headacheWe have all experienced a headache at one point in our life—some more than others. But what is a headache? A headache is commonly defined as pain that begins in your head or upper neck.  The pain originates fro the tissues and structures that surround the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain. The pain of a headache may be described as a dull ache, sharp, throbbing, constant, mild or intense. A headache may also appear gradually or suddenly and may last as little as less than an hour or even for several days.

What Causes a Headache?

A primary headache, which means it isn’t the symptoms of an underlying disease, is caused by problems with or overuse of pain-sensitive structures in your head. Have you ever experienced a headache after a stressful situation such as filing your taxes? When this occurs, chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside your skill, or muscles of your head and neck may play a role.  Some people may also carry genes that make them more prone to developing headaches.
Most of the time, primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, such as:
  • Alcohol
  • Certain foods
  • Changes in sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Skipped meals
  • Stress
Another form of headaches are considered secondary, which means they are a symptom of a disease that can activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. Any number of conditions can cause secondary headaches including:
  • Acute sinusitis
  • Blood clot
  • Brain tumor
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Concussion
  • Dehydration
  • Hangovers
  • Glaucoma
  • Panic attacks
Regardless of the cause, it is important to seek care to find relief from the pain of your headaches. We can work with you to determine if an underlying issue causes your headache, or if it is due to your lifestyle. Remember, you don’t have to put up with pain caused by headaches, which is why it is important to seek care to find the cause.

By Rosalyn M. Aranas, M.D
April 16, 2014
Category: Neurology
Tags: Stroke  
stroke A stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain. When this occurs, many people will experience an array of symptoms including:
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Vision problems
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking or talking
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
When it comes to a stroke, the outcome is determined based on where it occurs and how much of the brain is affected.  Smaller strokes might result in minor problems, while major strokes may lead to paralysis or death.  Anyone can suffer from stroke, and while many risk factors are out of our control, several can be kept in line through proper nutrition and medical care.

How Do I Know if I am Having a Stroke?

If you think you are having a stroke, an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke is F.A.S.T. When you can spot the signs, you will know that you need to call 9-1-1 immediately. Let’s take a look at what F.A.S.T. stands for:
Face Drooping – Does one side of your face droop or is it numb. By smiling you can tell if a person’s smile is uneven, which would indicate facial drooping.
Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? It doesn’t have to be only the left arm, if one arm drifts downward while the other remains raised this is another indicator of stroke.
Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? If a person is unable to speak or their speech is difficult to understand, help is needed immediately.
Time to Call 9-1-1 – If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if the symptoms go away it is important to get to the hospital immediately. And remember to check the time so you know when the first symptoms appeared—this will help in the emergency room.
Timing is key when it comes to treating a stroke. When you first experience any signs of a stroke, it is vital that you call 9-1-1 immediately. A stroke is a medical emergency, which means you need to seek care right away or the damage can cost you your life.