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Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis and Receiving Social Security Disability

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a disorder that is characterized by episodes of extreme muscle weakness. These episodes usually involve a temporary inability to move muscles (paralysis) in your arms and legs. It is also evidenced, sometimes, by higher than normal levels of potassium in your blood. Most of the time, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis usually starts during infancy or early childhood. These episodes have a tendency to increase in frequency until around the age of 25. Then, they may decrease in frequency. Muscle strength does improve between episodes of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. However, many people continue to have myotonia (mild stiffness). This is especially true in regard to the muscles of the hands and face. Fortunately, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is rare. It is estimated to occur in 1 in 200,000 people in the United States. This disorder affects men more often than it does women. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is an inherited disorder. It is caused by defects (mutations) that occur in the SCN4A gene. The pattern of inheritance is what is referred to as an autosomal dominant pattern. What this means is that you only have to inherit the defective gene from one of your parents in order to have the possibility of getting hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. The hallmark sign or symptom of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is paralysis (loss of muscle movement) or muscle weakness that comes and goes. These attacks (episodes) usually last for one to two hours, but they can last for an entire day. There are some characteristics of the paralysis or weakness. Some of these are: There are triggers that may lead to an episode of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. These include:
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