transmits and stores information somewhat like electrical
circuitry. When abnormal electrical activity or a
"short circuit" occurs in the brain "wiring," a seizure
occurs. This abnormal electrical brain activity is
transmitted to the rest of the body as incorrect signals --
resulting in abnormal muscle activity (convulsion),
fainting, breathing abnormalities, etc. Specific
symptoms usually correlate to the part of the brain where
the abnormal electrical activity
- Simple partial Seizures -- jerking localized on one side of the body, light flashing, or hallucinations
- Complex partial Seizures -- same symptoms as simple partial Seizures, but with impaired consciousness (i.e., fainting or confusion)
- Absence (Petit Mal) Seizures -- brief episodes (a few seconds) of loss of attention and loss of consciousness (sometimes with fainting). The individual appears to "space out" for a few seconds.
- Myoclonic Seizures -- muscle jerking
- Tonic -- clonic (Grand Mal)-sudden loss of consciousness, body rigidity, falling to the ground, diffuse muscle jerking. Lip/tongue biting and urinary/fecal incontinence may occur. Sleep usually follows a Grand Mal seizure.
- Status epilepticus -- continuous grand mal Seizures, one after another
- Idiopathic (Unknown)
- Birth injuries
- Metabolic Disorders
- Head trauma
- Brain Tumors
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heat Stroke
- Drugs abuse or withdrawal
- Stimuli such as flashes of light or sound
- Certain medications
- Alcohol ingestion
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Low Blood Sugar
- CT scan or MRI to look for brain abnormalities
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) -- a brain electrical study
- Video monitoring of the patient combined with EEG in some cases
- Blood tests:
- Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium levels
- Glucose level
- Kidney and liver function
- Depends on type of seizure. Common medications include Dilantin, Phenobarbital, and Valproic acid.
- Surgical treatment (removal of brain focus) if all medications fail
- Status epilepticus is a life threatening emergency -- treatment usually involves airway protection, glucose injection, Diazepam or lorazepam intravenously, and Dilantin intravenously.
- Individuals with Seizures should not drive or operate dangerous equipment unless Seizures are properly controlled. This should be determined by a neurologist. Only a physician (usually a neurologist) can determine when and if a person should discontinue seizure medications.
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