Generally seizures are temporary changes in the brain activity that occurs when a person suffers from epilepsy. Absence seizures are one such type that involves lapse of consciousness for a very short period of time. Absence seizures cause a person to stare blankly into the space for duration 10-30 seconds. Thus the symptoms of absence seizures are barely noticeable. Absence seizures are more common in children than adults.
What Causes Absence Seizure?
Absence seizures are known to have an association of genetic etiology among many children. This means, that children can acquire absence seizures genetically if they have a predisposition to it. If the neurophysiology of absence seizures is to be mentioned, one must know that seizures, in general, occur when the brain’s general electrical activity is altered. In case of absence seizure, the electrical signals of the brain repeat themselves over and over. The levels of neurotransmitters are also known to be altered in case of seizures. Researches also reveal that hyperventilation or flashing of light may also trigger an episode of absence seizure. It must be noted that specific causal factor of absence seizures for different patients is difficult to find.
What Are Some Of The Risk Factors Of Absence Seizures?
- A patient’s age is an important risk factor. Such cases of seizures are more common in children between the age of 4 and 14.
- Sex is another risk factor for absence seizures. It is seen that girls are more prone to absence seizures than boys.
- Heredity is also a risk factor for absence seizures. Research shows that half of the children with absence seizures have a close relative suffering from the seizure.
How Can Absence Seizures Be Diagnosed?
Patient should be brought to a neurologist when slightest of the absence seizures symptoms are noticed. Such include staring blankly at the space without any reason and in untimely situations. The doctor may ask to go for an MRI of the brain. This gives a detail view of the brain vessels. The doctor may also ask to go for an EEG test to check the brain’s electrical activity.
What is the Best Treatment for Absence Seizures?
- Antiepileptic drugs are given to control absence seizures among children. It is to be noted that very few children respond to a single drug. Thus, doctors use a combination of two or more drugs as a treatment protocol for such seizures.
- In case of juvenile absence seizures, although a combination of drugs is given, the more important step is to educate them about their disorder so that they can take responsibility for their treatment.
- Apart from drugs, it should be made sure that the patient gets enough sleep and does not indulge in smoking or drinking.
- Researches show that childhood absence seizures usually go away two to five years after the beginning of such seizures or when they reach adolescence.
- The earlier the intervention for absence seizure, the better. This is because it has been found that if a child responds properly to the treatment, seizures go permanently.
- Once the child does not encounter any episodes of seizures for two to three years during the treatment, the doctor gradually reduces the dose and may ultimately ask to discontinue them.
- Thus, the best possible treatment for absence seizure include understanding the disorder and bring about small lifestyle changes helps in the reduction of episodes of such seizures.
- Care should be taken to the child’s normal development. In case, the child’s social adjustment skills are impaired for such episodes, it is to be brought to the notice of the doctor.
- Regular check-up of the child’s IQ and neurological examination are recommended.
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