Running provoking seizures

Hi all,

I was diagnosed with complex partial epilepsy 3 years ago, which was when I found out I'd had it since I was 11 or 12 and just never saw a doc about it because it had never gotten in the way before. Now, I know that there are other discussions on here about exercise and epilepsy, but they seem to focus on people who are trying to get in shape (no offense!) The thing is sometimes I still get seizures even though I am on medication, and these seizures occur almost always (98% of them) while I am running, which is a small issue for me because I am a marathoner and have to run practically every day. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with focusing on the rhythym of running or what, but I wanted to check and see if any other generally fit person had an issue with running provoking their seizures. Sometimes cycling can bring them on, too, but nowhere near as frequently, and other sports that might involve running (ie soccer) don't seem to cause any problems. In fact, general exercise like weights, situps, elipticals, etc. don't cause problems. Any thoughts?


Re: Running provoking seizures

I started to have seizures just this summer with gardening and simple racking.  The funny thing is my doc wanted me to get more exercise, just my walking, joined a gym with my husband went there 3 times had a partical on the trend mill have not been back since.  The longer I have seizures the more different things are triggering me.

Re: Running provoking seizures


I don't think the running itself is causing the seizures -- it's the rapid change in body temperature that's probably triggering your seizures.    Phylis Feiner Johnson   www.epilepsytalk.com


Re: Running provoking seizures

I think it has to do with your breathing. I play the flute (since a year, so not that good) and every time I have small seizures/aura's during playing it (when I play too long). Just tiny one's so it will not get me stop playing the flute. My teacher/neuro say it's because I've just started playing, my breathing during playing is not that good. In time I hope I'll be able to play without having these episodes. I do have them too when I'm on my eclipse machine, working out (too hard). When they really bother me or when I think they could provoce a big episode(which luckyly I always feel coming) I either quit or take rivotril in a small dose, which still helps. At the moment I'm not taking (dayly) medication and my seizures can be provoced by hyperventilating (and many many other things).Hope you can solve this! Greetz from the Netherlands, Irene.

Re: Running provoking seizures

I was diagnosed with complex partial seizures 3 years ago also. I currently run an average of 10-12 miles per week, am not overweight and have been running for more than 20 years. I have had only one seizure while running and that was when i was in denial and did not take my meds regularly. I actually think running helps me avoid seizures because I think they are related to circulatory issues, I've had high blood pressure, varicose veins, horrible blood chemistry,, etc. I now work hard to reverse or control these issues through diet and exercise. Running lowers my blood pressure signinfcantly, and I never feel better than after a 4 or 5 mile run. I guess like the meds it is different for everyone. Perhaps the 26 miles is too much.  I seem to have my seizures only when I'm overly tired or do not take my meds the same time everyday. Good luck and I hope you get them under control. Good luck!

Re: Running provoking seizures

In my 20's,  I worked in a law enforcement agency I ran on a beach, I found that this caused partial seizures  approx. after 3 miles if I had not had enough fluid or no food .  It happened once in a blue moon.  My watch commander told me to be sure to have enough sodium in my system.  I was in good shape at this time.  I averaged 5 miles on the beach and approx. 7 miles on hills.  I did have a generalized sz when I did a dbl shift and was not hydrated and did not have enough food.   I was playing super person!  Now I am a parent trying to do the same thing but it is a different ball of wax.  I fast walk 5 miles daily!  I respect all runners!

The blood tests indicated that my sodium levels were low when I had seizures when I was running each patient is different.  

Re: Running provoking seizures

I've heard and/or read about all being factors and can be triggers (hyperventilation, body temp, and the list goes on and on)  It's interesting you mention salt though, I've been warned for about 3 yrs now that my salt levels are low - don't drink as much water.  I never have but the longer this goes on the more I want.  If I run a fever, I have to be really careful because I've been able to associate that with sz activity.  The salt can be affected by certain of the sz meds; as can vitamin D.  This is a complex situation we're in!!

Re: Running provoking seizures

I think that excercising has helped prevent my seizures. 

I have always been in great shape but 4 years ago I started eating bad, not working out, smoking, dinking alot, and not sleeping very much. I gained 45 pounds and I felt like I was going to die. Then I started having siezures a year ago. I have since changed my lifestyle. I eat an better and less, don't smoke, don't drink, sleep 8-9 hours, and I run and work out almost everyday. I feel like I have my life back.

I understand your pain. I would have a hard time if I was unable to run and workout.

The only advice I can give you is EVERYTHING in moderation. Doing something like a marathon puts a lot of stress on your body. My doctor told me to avoid stress of any kind. That is a "trigger". The healthy easy going lifestyle is the way to go.

Re: Running provoking seizures

You might want to look at the thread Can exercise induce seizures?   http://my.epilepsy.com/discussion/979431    Phylis Feiner Johnson   www.epilepsytalk.com

Re: Running provoking seizures

Have you ever had an EEG? Do you remember part where they want you to hyperventilate?

The brain in someone with with epilepsy is abnormal. I don't mean just additional firings. Brain chemistry is abnormal. The cells of your body use oxygen and give off CO2. You utilize  glucose. The chemistry occurs at an exact acid/base ratio (the pH). Changes to this ratio change the bio-chem in the entire body, including the brain. When you inhale and exhale O2/CO2, the exchange is because of a Carbonic Anhydrase, a zinc bearing enzyme. If you 'blow off' more CO2 than you inspire O2, the pH changes in the brain. The abnormal brain chemistry in epilepsy is that the level of Citrate is abnormally high. Over the course of 6 hours there is a normal utilization of glucose, O2, citrate, and the release of CO2, the glucose citrate / utilization curve. Citrate is an acid. When the brain is more acidic, there is an increase in firing of neurons. When you 'hype',  you increase the acidity in the brain (epileptics are prone to more seizures because of the propensity for their brain to become acid). This may cause you to seize. (Which is they want in an EEG test - they need to catch a seizure on the machine).

If you run, or do anything that makes you hyperventilate, you may induce a seizure as would be done on an EEG test. (The same problem happens to mountain climbers without hyperventillation. A rapid climb changes the O2 / CO2 exchange)

There is a medication for this (acetazolamide, brand name DIAMOX). Acetazolamide metabolizes in to a compound in the brain, acetoacetate. It inhibits carbonic anhydrase.