What is a Seizure?
Seizures are a sudden and uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in behavior and levels of reduced consciousness for suffering individuals. Repeated seizures are a symptom of a serious disease called epilepsy.
Some seizures symptoms are very serious and noticeable while others may be quite mild and possibly not noticed at all. Although seizures are believed to be associated with convulsions, not all seizures cause convulsions or tremors.
There are two main types of seizures.
- Partial Seizures
This type of seizure usually occurs in one part of the brain and therefore only affects one side of the body. Partial seizures are usually experienced by individuals who have epilepsy. It may make the affected individual feel, see, or hear things that are not there in real life, i.e., hallucinating and may have both emotional and physical effects.
Usually, such symptoms of this type of seizure make people mistake it for some kind of mental illness or nerve disorder. Partial seizures are known as focal seizures or temporary lobe seizures too, depending upon the part of the brain it tends to affect.
- Generalized Seizures
Both parts of the brain are involved in this type of seizure. As a result, the entire body is affected when someone experiences a generalized seizure. It may happen when nerve cells in both parts of the brain misfire and may cause the individual to fall or blackout, as well as cause muscle spasms. Generalized seizures are further divided into 6 major types of seizures listed here:
- Tonic-clonic (grand mal) Seizure
- Clonic Seizure
- Tonic Seizure
- Atonic Myoclonic Seizure
- Absence (petit mal) Seizure
Usually, seizures tend to last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and anything that persists for more than 5 to 6 minutes requires immediate medical attention. Seizures are fairly common and may occur due to a variety of reasons, and in some cases for unknown ones.
Seizure medications are said to be of great help in controlling seizure attacks and maintaining a normal daily life. Seizures are a hereditary disease that may run in the family.
What causes Seizures?
A number of health problems are responsible for triggering a seizure.
Nerve cells, also known neurons, are responsible for creating and transmitting electrical signals to move across the brain. When the neurons detect a stimulus, which is a change in the in the external or internal body environment, the brain is notified of it through means of electrical signals.
The brain detects this impulse and then carries out a suitable response to correct or adapt to the change. This way, the nerve cells within the brain can communicate. When an activity or change occurs that disrupts this transmission of electrical impulse in the brain, seizures can occur.
Other factors responsible for causing seizures are as follows:
- A stroke
- Brain tumor
- The use of drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, etc.
- Alcohol abuse
- Withdrawal symptoms due to any substance such as alcohol, or any medication.
- An electrolyte imbalance
- Head trauma that results in bleeding inside the head
- Electrical shock
- A high fever
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Seizures?
One may experience both partial and generalized seizures at the same time, or one may precede the other. A few of the most common seizure symptoms are as follows:
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms or jerking of the hands and legs
- Loss of consciousness that may be followed by confusion upon coming to again
- Cognitive or emotional symptoms such as fear, anxiety, or sudden mood swings
- Sudden, rapid eye movements
- Falling or toppling over
- Clenching of the teeth
- Biting of the tongue
- Frothing in the mouth or drooling
- Making unusual noises ex. grunting
- Losing bladder control or control over bowel function
- A staring spell
There are also a few seizure symptoms that may be seen before one occurs, so it is helpful to be on the lookout for the following:
- A severe headache
- Blurred or double vision
- Feeling sick or about to throw up
- A sudden jerky movement of the arms or legs that causes the individual to drop items
- Weird, unusual bodily sensation
- Feeling anxiousness or fearful
What is the recommended Treatment for Seizures?
A seizure may be diagnosed with a number of lab tests or thorough study of the patient’s medical history and symptoms by the doctor. A seizure may be diagnosed by:
- Neurological exams
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Lumbar puncture
- CT scan
- An MRI
- PET or SPECT
It is not necessary for all individuals to experience the same intensity of seizures or have the same frequency of seizures. The best approach to treating seizures is to make use of a method that quickly solves the issue without causing too many side effects.
Treatments for seizures include:
- The use of appropriate medications
- A brain surgery that removes brain abnormalities and restores its natural function
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
- Following a ketogenic diet
Although seizures have become common, it is important that you seek immediate medical help as soon as you experience a seizure for the first time. Prompt medical attention is also necessary if you experience a seizure that:
- Lasts more than five minutes
- Occurs while you are pregnant as it may be harmful to both you and the baby
- Occurs if you have diabetes
- Is immediately followed by another seizure
- Ends without restoring breathing or consciousness
- Occurs while suffering from a high fever or heat exhaustion
- Occurs after you have recently suffered an injury due to crashing into something or falling over.
Rush to a doctor immediately if you experience any of the seizures symptoms we’ve detailed here. Even a slight delay in getting treatment can have serious health consequences for you.
- Mayo Clinic – Epilepsy
- HealthLine – The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto