Monday, November 18, 2013
Episodes of Paralysis Continued
Yesterday, I came out of my "abortive" attack and actually had a few hours of feeling well; “my” well; clear headed, everything had color again, ability to move more than my fingers, ability to speak without getting out of breath, less fatigue, looking forward to and discussing the future. It does not happen very often, anymore, but when it does I enjoy every second of it. Usually, I will over do and push myself to “catch up” on things long neglected, but I did not do that yesterday. However, just before going to bed, it hit me again. They fog and shades of gray returned. Most of the night I was in paralysis and having problems breathing. I am still having problems taking in deep breaths as I am typing.
If an individual has Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis and potassium shifts into lower ranges, he or she can and will experience a combination of the same myriad of symptoms as well as paralysis and it can be equally as dangerous and deadly.
Potassium levels below 2.5 mEq/L affect many functions of the body including the muscles, digestion, kidneys, electrolyte balance, the liver and the heart.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (Hyper PP): Paralysis results from problems with the way the body controls sodium and potassium levels in cells. It is associated with high levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) during paralytic episodes.
Potassium levels above 6.5 mEq/L are very serious and usually require medical attention.
Paralysis: Episodic muscle weakness, episodic partial paralysis, episodic total paralysis.
Normokalemic Periodic Paralysis (Normo PP): Paralysis results from shifting of Potassium within normal ranges. (This can occur very quickly and is impossible to detect. About 50% of paralytic episodes are the result of this type of potassium shifting.)
Andersen-Tawil Syndrome (ATS): Paralysis results when the channel does not open properly; potassium cannot leave the cell. This disrupts the flow of potassium ions in skeletal and cardiac muscle. During paralytic episodes, ATS can be associated with low potassium, high potassium or shifts in the normal (normokalemia) ranges of potassium.
One who suffers with Andersen-Tawil Syndrome may experience a variety of symptoms in relationship to their ATS paralytic episodes including but not limited to any of the symptoms from above depending on whether the attack is hypokalemic, hyperkalemic or normokalemic. They also have long QT interval heartbeats, a life threatening arrhythmia, which is a marker for ATS. Ventricular arrhythmia is common as is fainting.
It is clear to understand from the information above that an “episode”, “event” or “attack” of Periodic Paralysis, may be as simple as an eyelid twitching or as complex as full-body paralysis, may have muscle weakness or just pins and needles, may include pain or numbness, may affect the heart or digestive system or include all of them and more. An event may look different each time for an individual, depending on the triggers and which levels of potassium he or she may be experiencing or how quickly the potassium shifted in normal ranges. Attacks may differ among individuals in the same family for the reasons above.