There is little available medical literature to guide the physician in the care of the pregnant patient who has periodic paralysis. The first part of this packet consists of abstracts and quotations drawn from current literature. But this information is limited. Because Periodic Paralysis International has a number of clients who have given birth we felt it might be helpful to survey them about their experiences. The second, third and forth parts of this packet consists of case studies of women with periodic paralysis who have given birth.
Myoclonus is the sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles. Myoclonic jerks may occur alone or in sequence, in a pattern or without pattern. They may occur infrequently or many times each minute. Myoclonus sometimes occurs in response to an external event or when a person attempts to move. The twitching cannot be controlled by the person experiencing it.
Pain is an often overlooked component of the periodic paralyses. Patients who report muscle pain in association with their episodes are too often told that the periodic paralyses are not painful despite many authoritative reports to the contrary. In fact the pain which accompanies the periodic paralyses is described in some of the literature as prominent or constant.
What happens during an attack of Periodic Paralysis?
People with Periodic Paralysis (PP) have episodes in which their muscles become weak or paralyzed in response to variations in the amount of potassium in their blood. These variations occur during sleep, they may result from food the person has eaten, from a sudden change in a person's activity level, from rest after activity, emotional stress, from becoming chilled, or a number of other factors. Potassium levels vary all the time.
The periodic paralyses are a group of rare inherited disorders that cause temporary episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis. Periodic Paralysis is found in all races and in both sexes. Some patients have their first attack within minutes of birth, but a few don't have symptoms until they are in their 60’s or 70’s. Attacks can last only a few moments or go on for days, depending on the type of periodic paralysis the person has. Some forms of periodic paralysis include muscle stiffness or rigidity as part of the attacks.
The information on this site is based on current medical knowledge but should never at any time be substituted for the advice and care of a properly qualified medical consultant. For medical advice seek the services of a physician.