Saturday, October 6, 2007

How to Tell "Syncope" From "Seizure"

QUESTION: My daughter faints frequently. I've tried to read all I can get my
hands on about possible causes of her trouble, but have become confused about
two words that I keep seeing. Can you explain what they mean and how to tell
"syncope" from "seizure?"
ANSWER: Syncope (SIN ko pee), the medical term for fainting, may be preceded
by such symptoms as yawning, a feeling of warmth, flushing or sweating, blurry
vision, dizziness, or nausea. This leads up to a gradual loss of
consciousness and a "soft," limp fall. Although the person may look pale or
grayish, and may have low blood pressure and a slow heart beat, he or she will
resume consciousness without confusion, and will remember the event.
A seizure comes on with no warning signs, although some people experience
an "aura" or premonition beforehand. Loss of consciousness is sudden, causing
a "hard" or abrupt fall. The person's color will be normal, but he or she is
likely to twitch or move oddly while unconscious. Patients who have seizures
often are confused when they regain consciousness, and do not remember the
Seizures are associated with brain and nerve disorders, such as head
injuries and epilepsy. Syncope can be caused by a wide variety of things,
some serious and some not. Your concern and evident anxiety will only be
helped when you get answers that apply specifically to your daughter. It is
always a good idea to consult a doctor about any kind of fainting or seizure,
especially if it happens repeatedly.

Can a Doctor Look into Sinuses for Infection?

QUESTION: Can a doctor look into your sinuses for infection?
ANSWER: In the past, examining and treating sinus infection was very
difficult because the sinus cavities were dark and inaccessible. Now,
however, there are new instruments based on miniature video cameras and light
transmitters that are very successful in diagnosing sinus conditions. These
new instruments are used in combination with endoscopy, a procedure which
allows internal body sites to be examined through the use of a fiberoptic
device that is inserted through a passageway such as the nose.
Endoscopy has opened an entirely new view of the sinuses by taking light
around awkward angles and illuminating the dark air spaces within the skull.
These interior views can be seen by the physician and projected on a monitor
screen as well. If a sinus infection requires surgery, these same instruments
can be used during the surgical process. As a result, there is less bleeding,
less anesthesia is required, and, in most cases, hospitalization is no longer
necessary for the operation.
The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace
the counsel and advice of your personal physician. Promptly consulting your
doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical