May 21, 2024

Hypertension and Other Vascular Risk Factors in Patients with Functional Seizures

Article published by Physicians Weekly

In a recent study, Jonah Fox, MD aimed to determine why patients with functional seizures may experience a higher degree of vascular disease and whether this relates to the higher mortality rate in these patients. A previous study conducted by Dr. Fox showed elevated rates of cerebrovascular disease in patients with functional seizures, and another study in the literature showed elevated rates of vascular disease in those with functional seizures. There is also research showing elevated cortisol levels in patients with functional seizures. “We retrospectively identified patients who were admitted to the epilepsy monitoring unit and received a definitive diagnosis of functional seizures or epilepsy”, he said. “We then compared vascular risk factors between them.” The study included 147 patients with epilepsy and 123 with functional seizures. Generally, vascular-related clinical characteristics were more prevalent in the functional seizures group compared with the epilepsy group. “The most important results to emphasize would be that rates of hypertension, obesity, and hyperlipidemia are elevated in patients with functional seizures”. Overall, the findings show that patients with functional seizures experience a greater prevalence of vascular risk factors that may contribute to the development of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease, as well as mortality.