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Ashley88

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Hi! My name is Ashley and I'm 17 years old.

I have just one question.

Ever since I was little I've had experiences of "flashing lights." But as I got older they got worse. Today before I experience the flashing lights I experience nasuea, dizzyness, weakness, disorentation, as well as a number of other things. I know this isn't normal and when I'm experiencing all this I know I'm going down. Lucky for me I always make it to a bed or couch or something before.....the seizure? See, I don't really know what it is. I just know I feel scared, like I'm going to faint, and I breathe super hard and rapid. I can't see at all either. I loose vision and all I see is white. As for what I'm doing while the...seizure...is happening I have no clue. It happens about once every three months and normally no one's around me when it happens. When there are people around me I try to make it to a safe place where no one's around. It doensn't last that long either. Usually under a minute.

So my question : Are these seizures?
 

brain

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:hello: Ashley,

Welcome to CWE, from all that you have provided
in the description fits those of Migraines. Either way
you need to consult with your Primary Doctor to see
a Neurologist (they also deal with Migraines as well
as Seizures / Epilepsy and other Neurological problems
of the brain). Moreover, the Neurologist may very well
run an EEG regardless to rule out any possibilities,
for there have been findings of connections of those
who have families of Migraines also have tendencies
to also have Epilepsy, but it does not necessarily mean
you will have Epilepsy.

This is the best approach forward - and if you are
getting these more frequently; the chances are, many
times Migraines are triggered by something, such as
MSG, Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame is the worse)
{diet foods and diet drinks contains such}, Nuts - such
as peanuts / peanut butter, Soy, even Dairy / Cheese,
Aged Products (aged cheese, meat), Alcohol, Stress,
and so on - can trigger Migraines.

There are also cases of women who gets them when
their hormones are "out of whack", and with men, they
sustain frequent cluster headaches likewise.

There are medications for these, and like with Epilepsy
Medications - Migraine Medications are also a trial and
error, especially if one suffers from frequent episodes.

Either way - you need to be evaluated.
 

brain

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Here's some information for you:

Migraines - from eMed


History

The typical headache of migraine is throbbing or pulsatile. It is initially unilateral and localized in the frontotemporal and ocular area, then builds up over a period of 1-2 hours, progressing posteriorly and becoming diffuse. It typically lasts from several hours to a whole day. Pain intensity is moderate to severe, prompting the patient to remain still as it intensifies even with routine physical activity.

* The attack commonly occurs when the patient is already awake, although it may have already started upon awakening and less commonly may awaken the patient at night.
* Nausea and vomiting usually occur later in the attack in about 80% and 50% of patients, respectively, along with anorexia and food intolerance.
* Some patients have been noted to be pale and clammy, especially if nausea develops.
* Photophobia and/or phonophobia also commonly are associated with the headache.
* The headache usually subsides gradually within a day and after a period of sleep; a majority of patients report being tired and weak afterwards.
* About 60% of people who experience migraines report a prodrome, often occurring hours to days before headache onset. Patients describe a change in mood or behavior that may include psychological, neurological, constitutional, or autonomic features.
*
o These symptoms may be difficult to diagnose as part of the migraine complex if they occur in isolation from the headache or if they are mild. The prodrome of migraine has yet to receive significant investigational attention.
o Because of the set periodicity of migraine, linkage to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus that governs circadian rhythm has been proposed. Discovering the central trigger for migraine would help identify better prophylactic agents.
* The migraine aura is a complex of neurologic symptoms that may precede or accompany the headache phase or may occur in isolation.
o It usually develops over 5-20 minutes and lasts less than 60 minutes.
o The aura can be visual, sensory, motor, or any combination of these.
o The most characteristic visual aura of migraine is a scintillating scotoma (occurring in about 64% of cases), beginning as a hazy spot from the center of a visual hemifield followed by shimmering light of different patterns expanding peripherally to involve a greater part of the hemifield with scotoma.
o Paresthesias, occurring in 40% of cases, constitute the next most common aura; they are often cheiro-oral with numbness starting in the hand then migrating to the arm and then jumping to involve the face, lips, and tongue.
o As with visual auras, positive symptoms typically are followed by negative symptoms; paresthesias may be followed by numbness.
* Sensory aura rarely occurs in isolation and usually follows visual aura.
o The rate of spread of sensory aura is helpful in distinguishing it from transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a sensory seizure.
o Just as a visual aura spreads across the visual field slowly, the paresthesias may take 10-20 minutes to spread, which is slower than the spread of sensory symptoms of TIA.
o The migrainous aura generally resolves within a few minutes and then is followed by a latent period before the onset of headache, although merging of the 2 also is reported.
* Motor symptoms may occur in 18% of patients and usually are associated with sensory symptoms.
o Motor symptoms often are described as a sense of heaviness of the limbs before a headache but without any true weakness.
o Speech and language disturbances have been reported in 17-20% of patients, commonly associated with upper extremity heaviness or weakness.
* Whether migraine with and without aura (prevalences, 36% and 55%, respectively) represent 2 distinct processes remains debatable; however, the similarities of the prodrome, headache, and resolution phases of the attacks, similarity in therapeutic response, and the fact that 9% of patients experience both suggest that they are the same entity.
* When an aura is not followed by a headache, it is called a migraine equivalent or acephalic migraine. This is reported most commonly in patients older than 40 years who have a history of recurrent headache. Scintillating scotoma has been considered to be diagnostic of migraine even in the absence of a headache; however, paresthesias, weakness, and other transient neurologic symptoms are not. In the absence of a prior history of recurrent headache and first occurrence after age 45 years, TIA should be considered and must be investigated fully.
* Although headache is a very common reason for seeking medical care, the majority of headache complaints are benign in origin. However, migraine with its protean manifestation may simulate or be simulated by primary and secondary headache disorders. Also, it can coexist with a secondary headache disorder. When headache is episodic, recurrent, and with a well-established pattern, a primary headache disorder is likely. Differentiating between migraine, tension-type, and cluster headaches is important, as optimal treatment may differ.
* Any of the following features suggest a secondary headache disorder and warrant further investigation:
o Atypical history or unusual character that does not fulfill the criteria for migraine
o Occurrence of a new, different, or truly "worst" headache
o Change in frequency of episodes or major characteristics of the headache
o Abnormal neurologic examination
o Inadequate response to optimal therapy
 

brain

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And another website:

Migraine Headaches - eMedicine Health

MIGRAINES

Migraine headaches are one of the most common problems seen in emergency departments and doctors' offices. Migraines are due to changes in the brain and surrounding blood vessels.

Migraine headaches typically last from 4-72 hours and vary in frequency from daily to fewer than 1 per year. Migraine affects about 15% of the population. Three times as many women as men have migraines. More than 80% of people with migraines (called migraineurs) have other members in the family who have them too.

* Different types of migraine headaches

o Common migraine accounts for 80% of migraines. There is no "aura" before a common migraine.

o People with classic migraines experience an aura before their headaches. Most often, an aura is a visual disturbance (outlines of lights or jagged light images). Classic migraines are usually much more severe than common migraines.

o Status migrainosus is a migraine that does not go away by itself.


Migraine Headache Causes

The exact cause of migraine headaches is not clearly understood, though experts believe they are due to a combination of the expansion of blood vessels and the release of certain chemicals, which causes inflammation and pain.

The chemicals dopamine and serotonin are among those involved in migraine. These chemicals are found normally in the brain and can cause blood vessels to act abnormally if they are present in abnormal amounts or if the blood vessels are unusually sensitive to them.

Various triggers are thought to bring about migraine in certain people prone to developing migraine. Different people may have different triggers:

* Certain foods, especially chocolate, cheese, nuts, alcohol, and MSG, bring on headaches in some people. (MSG is a food enhancer used in many foods including Chinese food.)

* Missing a meal may bring on a headache.

* Stress and tension are also risk factors. People often have migraines during times of increased emotional or physical stress.

* Birth control pills are a common trigger. Women may have migraines at the end of the pill cycle as the estrogen component of the pill is stopped. This is called an estrogen-withdrawal headache.

* Smoking may cause migraines or interfere with treatment.


Migraine Headache Symptoms


Symptoms vary from person to person and from migraine to migraine. Five phases can often be identified:

* Prodrome: A variety of warnings can come before a migraine. These may consist of a change in mood (for example, feeling "high," irritable, or depressed) or a subtle change of sensation (for example, a funny taste or smell). Fatigue and muscle tension are also common

* Aura: This is commonly a visual disturbance that precedes the headache phase. Some migraineurs develop blind spots (called scotomas); see geometric patterns or flashing, colorful lights; or lose vision on one side (hemianopsia).

* Headache: Although migraine pain usually appears on one side of the head, 30-40% of migraines occur on both sides. Throbbing pain may be present. More than 80% of migraineurs feel nauseated, and some vomit. About 70% become sensitive to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia). This phase may last 4-72 hours.

* Headache termination: Even if untreated, the pain usually goes away with sleep.

* Postdrome: Other signs of the migraine (for example, inability to eat, problems with concentration, or fatigue) may linger after the pain has disappeared.

Click on the link above to read more about it.
 

Bernard

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Hi Ashley, welcome to the forum. :hello:

Ever since I was little I've had experiences of "flashing lights." But as I got older they got worse. Today before I experience the flashing lights I experience nasuea, dizzyness, weakness, disorentation, as well as a number of other things.
Flashing lights by themselves could be indicative of a simple partial seizure.

Nausea, dizzyness, weakness and disorientation could be indicative of complex partial seizures.

You would need to see a neurologist to get some EEG testing done (hopefully experiencing one of these events while the testing is occurring) to know for sure.

... and I breathe super hard and rapid.
There are known deep breathing techniques (part of neurobehavioral therapy) that you can use that might short circuit the event.

I can't see at all either. I loose vision and all I see is white. As for what I'm doing while the...seizure...is happening I have no clue. It happens about once every three months and normally no one's around me when it happens. ... It doensn't last that long either. Usually under a minute.
That sounds consistent with a complex partial seizure. :twocents:
 

skillefer

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hmmmm

Hi Ashley! Welcome to CWE. :) I agree with Bernard and Brain. Technically, we aren't doctors. Well, most of us aren't. :) So we can't diagnose. However, what you've described sounds like it might be migraines or seizures. Either way, I strongly advise that you go see a neurologist.
 

Ashley88

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Okay. Thank you. You've been a huge help. It's scary to think that those episodes I've been passing off over the years can be seizures. I'll get it checked out.

Ps. Thanks for the warm welcomes. =D
 
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Bernard and Brain are right! It could be either migraine or seizure. I thought mine were migraine until I found out they were seizures and then some other "weird" episodes I've had in the past made sense. Find a good neurologist and get a diagnosis -- then you'll know for sure!
 

ashmstng

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Hello Ashley~

Welcome to CWE Board. As I see you are getting some answers that you need. I hope you get what you have been looking for. This board has wonderful people on here and if any questions just ask. I hope you like it here as much as I do. Take care and nice to meet you.
 

RobinN

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Hi Ashley -
I had migraines for 30 yrs and recently found out they are classified in the seizure family now. Mine were surely connected to my menstrual cycle. I could count the days. It was suggested to me to take magnesium and I have not had a migraine since.

My daughter who is also 17 began having seizures at the age of 14. Hers also tend to be during her cycle. Her neurologist recommended that she take magnesium as well.

So sometimes it can be something as simple as a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
 

Ashley88

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I went to see my doctor today and she diagnosed me with ocular migraines. So you guys were right. She also referred me to a neurologist and scheduled me to have a CAT scan of my brain and an EKG. Blood work also. So I think all is well and it's nothing serious.
 

Bernard

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... She also referred me to a neurologist and scheduled me to have a CAT scan of my brain and an EKG. ...
The neuro should order an EEG test with flashing lights to make sure you aren't experiencing epileptiform (seizure) activity. :twocents:
 

RobinN

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Bright sunlight use to bother me, when I first walked out into it. I just realized that since I have not been having migraines, I don't have that grab over my eye any more either.

Really glad to hear the report that there is nothing serious.
 
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