What happens in the brain when a person has a seizure? At the time of an episode of seizure, there occurs a surge of electrical activity caused by the complex neurochemical changes in the neurons. These nerve cells either excite or inhibit sending messages to the brain. This causes an imbalance in the activity of the nerve cells in the brain that causes seizures. Seizures are not a form of the disease by itself. They are the symptoms of a certain disorder which may affect the brain.
Are All Seizures Dangerous?
No, not all seizures are dangerous. The risks of seizures depend on its type and the duration. There are various kinds of seizures. While some seizures are of a convulsive type, there are some which can be hardly noticed. It is seen that most of the seizures end up on their own and can be controlled by medicines. It may happen so that patients might injure themselves during seizures and may develop life-threatening emergencies. A condition of status epilepticus is quite dangerous and is considered to be a medical emergency.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Seizure?
The symptoms of a seizure depend on the type of seizure a patient has. The general symptoms and their warnings and signs may include-
- Staring blankly.
- Jerking movements of the legs and arms.
- Muscular spasms.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Problems with breathing.
- Problems with controlling the bladder.
- Falling off suddenly.
- Inability to respond to noise or words.
- Being in a state of confusion.
- Rapid eye blinking and staring.
- A patient having seizure may have bluish lips and convulsive movements.
- A patient may also have some unusual sensory experiences.
This may be followed by a period of deep sleep or disorientation.
How Are The Treatment Procedures Of Seizures Determined?
The treatment procedures for seizures are depended on a variety of factors. These are determined by the doctor at the time of diagnosis. The factors to be determined are-
- The patient’s age and overall health condition.
- The patient’s medical history of other illness of present.
- The type of seizure a patient has.
- The patient’s tolerance level for specific medications.
- The patient’s medical treatment history. This helps the doctor to under if the patient has some form of side effect of some drug.
How Are The Types Of Seizures Classified?
The types of seizures can be classified in a variety of ways. According to the recent classification, seizures are not grouped into three groups –
- Generalized onset seizures: Such seizures occur when both sides of the brain are affected at the same time. Generalized seizures are the most common form of seizures seen. They include some subtypes like the grand mal seizures, absence seizures and atonic seizures.
- Focal onset seizures: Focal seizures are also called partial seizures because it occurs as a result of an upsurge of neural activity only in one part of the brain. It can be further divided into- Simple partial seizures- When such seizures occur, the patient stays generally conscious and is aware of his surroundings. Complex partial seizures- When a patient has complex partial seizures, he generally stays confused about his awareness which can be seen as an altered form of awareness.
- Unknown onset seizures: When the initiation of the seizure remains unknown, it is called as an unknown seizure. A seizure can also be diagnosed as unknown onset seizure when no other person has witnessed the seizure to occur. In most of the times, unknown seizures are classified as the generalized onset or simple focal onset seizures itself.
- Fisher RS, Cross JH, French JA, et al. Operational classification of seizure types by the International League Against Epilepsy: Position Paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology. Epilepsia. 2017;58(4):522-530. doi:10.1111/epi.13670
- Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 20th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2018.
- Blumenfeld H. Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases. 2nd ed. Sinauer Associates; 2010.
- Hauser SL, Josephson SA. Harrison’s Neurology in Clinical Medicine. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2022.
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