What is Seizure Aura: Causes & Symptoms

Seizures are neurological disorders that can range from minor to severe and from frequent to rare. The range of symptoms makes it difficult to treat the seizures. Severe seizures can also lead to loss of consciousness.

What is Seizure Aura?

Seizure aura is a phenomenon wherein the brain signals the approach of an oncoming seizure.

It is a feeling that a person gets before the onset of the seizure. The research suggested that 65 percent of people with generalized epilepsy experience aura.(1)

The aura is a type of seizure that is known as a focal aware seizure (FAS).

The aura may lead to many sensations such as sights, sounds, smell, pain, numbness, or headache.

Causes of Seizure Aura

Aura can be a warning sign or a small seizure. They can be detected during electroencephalogram (EEG), a test that is used to measure electrical signals in the brain.

It is believed that auras are caused as seizure creates a new pathway in the brain.

Why seizure aura happens can be understood by understanding the triggers of seizures that include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Fever
  • Neurological conditions
  • Head injuries
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Drug use
  • Drug withdrawal
  • High sugar levels

Symptoms of Seizure Aura

It is hard to describe how the aura feels. Sometimes it can be physical, emotional or there can be sensory changes. Mostly the people experience the same things each time the aura happens.

Symptoms depending on the types of seizure aura include:

    • Symptoms of Frontal Lobe Seizure Auras

Located in the forehead area, the frontal lobe of the brain controls things like expressions, memories, language, judgment, and problem-solving. It is also responsible for the person’s personality.

Aura is mostly mild, while there would also be severe seizures causing significant symptoms.

An aura that starts in the frontal lobe includes symptoms such as:

  • A feeling of wave or ripple that travels through the head
  • Headache or pain
  • Twitching or stiffening in the arm and other parts of the body
  • Symptoms of Temporal Lobe Seizure Aura

The temporal lobe is located behind the ear and it plays a role in controlling the auditory process and making sounds of spoken language.

Auras starting in the temporal lobe lead to the following symptoms:

  • Sensation in the stomach as if riding or falling from a rollercoaster
  • A feeling of déjà vu
  • Hearing unexplained music or sound
  • Sudden emotion of intense fear, happiness, or anxiety
  • Unusual taste or smell
  • Symptoms of Partial Lobe Seizure Aura

The parietal lobe is located behind the frontal lobe in the center of the brain. It is responsible for controlling the primary sensory area that processes warmth, cold, and touch.

It also helps in understanding written languages, mathematics, and judge size, distance, and shapes.

Auras that start in the parietal lobe include the following symptoms:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Crawling sensation on the skin
  • Sensation as if one arm is bigger or smaller than the other
  • Symptoms of Occipital Lobe Seizure Aura

The occipital lobe is located at the back and base of the skull and contains the primary visual cortex and receives direct input from the retina.

It is responsible for what you see, read and understand written language. It processes all types of information like shapes and colors.

Aura starting in the occipital lobe may include the following symptoms:

  • Seeing things that are not there
  • Seeing flashing or colored spots or light

Is It Possible To Prevent Seizure Aura?

Strategies to prevent aura are similar to those preventing seizures. There is no way one can stop these auras from happening.

Some people are able to identify triggers to seizure activity that are:

An aura can be scary and can trigger anxiety about an upcoming seizure, but can also be useful in keeping you safe.

Sometimes seizures happen suddenly and in places where help cannot be available immediately. These auras give you time to sit down and find a safe place or get help.

Auras cannot be stopped but one can manage seizure or epilepsy with the help of medication or surgery.

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