ABOUT Seizures - Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment
Seizures are a symptom that can be caused by several
serious conditions, including epilepsy. They happen when there's abnormal
electrical activity in the brain. A seizure could be linked to any one or more
parts of the brain and can affect your mental state and behaviour.
Common types of seizures include:
Tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal) – these cause
an abrupt loss of consciousness and violent shaking movements that start in the
limbs before spreading to the trunk and head; they end with a period of
sleepiness or confusion; tonic-clonic seizures typically happen in clusters
over weeks (sometimes months) before becoming less frequent.
Focal-onset seizures – these cause an abrupt
loss of consciousness and abnormal movements of specific body parts or
twitching of a single muscle or part of a muscle.
Atonic seizures – these cause little or no loss
of consciousness, and instead begin with a strange sensation that spreads to
other muscles, followed by strange movements.
Prevention of Seizures
There are several treatments available to help prevent
seizures from occurring. The most common ones are:
Managing stress – many people who have seizures
have an underlying condition related to excessive stress, anxiety, or
depression. These can be treated with specialized counseling or other support
Medications – the use of medications that reduce
the frequency and severity of seizures is effective in many cases, but there is
no cure for epilepsy, which means that these drugs may not be successful in all
patients. Successful treatment depends on a combination of medications and
Diagnosis of Seizures
Several tests are conducted to diagnosis your
condition. These include EEG tests, CT scans, blood tests, an MRI or magnetic
resonance imaging. Epilepsy has no cure, but treatment can help.
It's important to have regular check-ups with your
doctor to keep your seizures under control. The outlook for people with
epilepsy is good if their seizures are well-controlled. The more seizures you
have, the greater the risk that further damage will occur in the brain over
time-related related to scarring or nerve cell death.
Surgery is used when other treatments fail to control
the person's seizure activity. These include surgery to remove the part of the
brain that is causing the seizures or surgery that aims to stop seizures by
cutting out part of the brain.
Surgery may be recommended because of serious
complications related to epilepsy, such as a change in intellectual ability,
changes in behavior, or personality changes. Surgery works for many people with
epilepsy because it can stop seizures quickly and permanently.
However, it's not always possible to know whether
surgery will work before you have an operation. For this reason, surgery should
only be carried out if other treatments have failed. Some people are not good
candidates for surgery because they have too many seizures or they're not
expected to live long enough after surgery for it to be effective.
Frequently Asked Questions on Seizures
What Are The Causes Of Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical discharge in
the brain. Anything that can disrupt normal electrical activity in the brain
can lead to seizures.
These include genetic defects, head trauma, strokes,
tumors, infections, heart disease, metabolic abnormalities, and other medical
problems. Some types of epilepsy have known genetic and environmental causes
and others do not appear to have a clear cause.
When Can You Expect A Seizure?
You will never know when someone will develop a seizure.
If you do experience a seizure or multiple seizures — seek medical attention
immediately — it's important to find out what caused the seizure so that it
doesn't happen again.
Can You Drive If You Have Epilepsy?
Some states have laws that allow someone with epilepsy
to drive so long as he or she is free of seizures for some time. It's important
to check the law in your state.
If you are having seizures, it's important to leave the
driving to someone else. Tell your doctor if you are concerned about how your
seizures will affect your ability to drive safely.
What Are Some Warning Signs That A Seizure Is About To Occur?
There may be no warning signs before a seizure happens,
but certain things can trigger a seizure in people who have a history of them.