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Seizure occurs due to the sudden surge of electrical activity within the brain. The seizure usually affects different people in different ways.

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Some may suffer from convulsions where the body shakes rapidly and uncontrollably. In some cases, a person suffering from seizure may appear to have a staring spell and the seizure may go unnoticed. Let us learn more about seizures and its implications.

What is a Seizure?

The abnormal electrical activity within brain leads to seizures. These seizures may lead to loss of consciousness or involuntary muscle spasms (convulsions). In some people, seizures may occur and go unnoticed.

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Seizures tend to appear suddenly and vary in duration and severity. Some may suffer seizures as a one-time event or it may become a repeated affair for most. It has been found, less than 1 person in 10 who have seizures may develop epilepsy.

Types of Seizures

There are many types of seizures that are categorized in two broad categories.

These include:

Generalized Seizures

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These seizures affect both sides of the brain. Some of the common types of generalized seizures include tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures and absence seizures (petit mal). Young children often suffer from febrile or infantile spasms.

Partial Seizures

These seizures begin within a specific area of the brain. This abnormal electrical brain activity is contained in one area of the brain and in some cases, it may spread to the entire brain. A person suffering from simple partial seizures may remain conscious during the episode. In case of complex partial seizures, the person may have impaired consciousness.

Causes of Seizures

In most cases, the exact cause of seizures remains unknown. However, some conditions are known to lead to seizures.

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These conditions include:

  • High fever
  • Brain infection due to meningitis
  • Brain tumors
  • Head injury
  • Certain medications such as antipsychotics or asthma drugs
  • Cancer
  • Withdrawal symptoms after heavy use of narcotics, alcohol or medication such as Xanax
  • Drug abuse such as cocaine and heroin
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Poisoning
  • Toxemia of pregnancy
  • Venomous bites

Symptoms of Seizures

Some of the specific symptoms of seizures that may occur depending on which part of the brain is affected includes:

  • Sudden changes in behavior like tugging at or picking ones clothing
  • Brief period of blackout that leads to a brief period of confusion. The person cannot remember what happened a short while ago.
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Mood changes like sudden aggression, anger, panic, joy, laughter or unexplainable fear
  • Sudden falling down
  • Tasting a bitter or metallic flavor on the tongue
  • Temporary stop in breathing
  • Shaking of entire body
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms
  • Twitching or jerking or limbs
  • Staring in one direction for a few moments

Most of these symptoms occur suddenly and may last for a few seconds to a couple of minutes and up to 15 minutes in some cases. Some people may complain of vertigo, nausea, visual symptoms like bright lights or spots, anxiety before the start of a seizure.

Diagnosis for Seizures

When one develops seizures, they are often taken to a hospital or emergency room. Or after a seizure a person is taken to the emergency room of a hospital for further care.

It is important to seek medical help, if the person has developed seizure for the first time.

Other causes to rush the person to a hospital emergency room includes:

  • Seizure lasting for more than 2 to 5 minutes
  • The person remains unconscious or does not behave normally after the seizure   
  • The person suffers from a second seizure after the first seizure ends
  • The affected person is pregnant, diabetic or injured
  • The seizure appears different from the previous seizures the person may have experienced
  • The seizure occurs when the person is in water

Here, the doctor may order certain tests such as:

  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • MRI of the head
  • Lumbar puncture
  • EEG

How to Handle a Person Suffering from Seizure?

It is very important to care of the person suffering from a seizure. The person may hurt or injure him/herself during a violent seizure.

  • Help the person lie down on the floor. See that the person does not fall down.
  • Clear the area of furniture or objects that may hurt the person.
  • Loosen the person’s clothing, open the top button of the shirt, in case of men and remove any shard neckpiece in case of women.
  • Help the person turn to their side. In case the person vomits, it will ensure they do not inhale it into their lungs.
  • Search for a medical bracelet or ID, in case the person is a stranger. This will help you find instructions to follow in case of emergency.
  • Stay with the person till they recover. Help call the emergency professionals and wait till they arrive.

Things to Avoid During the Seizure

  • Do not hold the person down during the seizure. Instead, clear the area of objects that may hurt the person.
  • Do not place anything in the mouth of the person to bite on during a seizure.
  • Avoid moving the person from their place, until and unless the area is unsafe.
  • Do not attempt to help the person stop convulsing. The person is completely unaware of what is happening to him/her.
  • Never attempt CPR until the seizures have stopped completely.
  • Do not feed the person until they are completely alert and awake.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: March 11, 2016