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"I am dropping things frequently and I don't know why. Might I be having seizures? "


I have been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease and present with several different neurological symptoms (including stroke-like episodes). Recently, I have been inadvertently dropping or "throwing" things. One minute it's in my hand and the next it's not. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's as if I suddenly lose the ability to "hang on". It's only a split second. My PT says my hand strength is "decent" and he doesn't think that's what's causing it. My neuro is sending me for an EEG and SPECT. Might these episodes be some type of seizure?


Your symptoms sound very peculiar. As you probably know, mitochondrial diseases can produce a great number of symptoms including muscle weakness, heart problems, kidney disease, liver diseases, neurological diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases. It seems that your main manifestations are neurological since your past symptoms include stroke-like episodes.

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The symptom of dropping or throwing things is most likely a neurological complication that may or may not be related to your mitochondrial disease. This is especially true if your hand strength is adequate enough that you are not dropping things due to hand fatigue. In addition, the symptom of throwing things may be a phenomenon called "hemibalism" where a person's limb involuntarily moves sometimes resulting in throwing things against their will. This is caused by damage to specific areas of the brain. It sounds like you are seeing the right kind of doctor. Your neurologist can help guide your diagnostic evaluation and help determine where the problem lies. An EEG and SPECT are a good start. Your doctor may to do an EMG next if nothing is found on the initial tests. Seizures are low on my list of diagnoses but they are possible. Good luck with your tests.

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