Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Seizures are caused by sudden, large discharges of electrical impulses from brain cells. A seizure may involve a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the part of the brain affected and the type of seizure.
What are the causes and risks of the injury?
Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. These may include conditions such as the following:
Diseases also can be a factor in seizures, for example:
Injuries that may cause seizures include the following:
Additional factors that may cause seizures include the following:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the injury?
Signs and symptoms of seizures vary according to the type of seizure and the portion of the brain that is affected.
Absence seizures used to be called petit mal seizures. They generally have the following characteristics:
Tonic-clonic seizures were formerly called grand mal seizures. These seizures often have the following characteristics:
Atonic seizures may have the following characteristics:
Myoclonic seizures generally have the following characteristics:
Clonic seizures may have the following characteristics:
Simple partial seizures usually have the following characteristics:
Complex partial seizures may include the following characteristics:
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the injury recognized?
Seizures may cause major symptoms, such as the following:
Other types of seizures may produce more subtle symptoms.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the injury?
By reducing excessive alcohol use, a person decreases his or her risk of seizures. However, if a person with alcoholism stops drinking completely, the risk of withdrawal seizures increases. A sudden withdrawal from certain medicines, such as phenobarbital or diazepam, can also cause seizures. It’s important to follow the healthcare provider’s prescription for decreasing or stopping a medicine or alcohol.
Keeping blood pressure under control reduces a person’s risk of seizures. It also helps prevent stroke, which can lead to seizures. People with epilepsy need to take their medicines as prescribed to lower the risk for seizures.
Protection against head injury is critical for all ages. Following sports safety guidelines for children, adolescents, and adults can prevent some injuries.
Many times, there is no way to prevent epilepsy. Once it is diagnosed, individuals can lower their risk of seizures by:
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the injury?
When a seizure occurs, the first treatment is to keep the person safe. Anyone giving first aid to a person having a seizure should follow these steps:
When someone has a seizure, it’s important that bystanders do not:
If an infant or a child is having a seizure that seems to be caused by a high fever, it is important to cool the body slowly. Do not immerse the child in a cold bath. Instead, use a sponge or cool compress with lukewarm water.
After a seizure is over, the victim will probably want to sleep. This is OK. He or she will also be somewhat disoriented. The period following a seizure is called the postictal phase.
Contact emergency medical services right away if:
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Seizures can injure the person and anyone giving first aid. The person can end up with head injuries, cuts, abrasions, scratches, and injured limbs. The person’s flailing arms or other body parts can hurt anyone who is helping. Sometimes seizures last so long that the person loses consciousness. And rarely, the person can have brain damage.
What happens after treatment for the injury?
A healthcare professional may prescribe medicine to prevent future seizures. It is also important to control high blood pressure or heart disease. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.
Article type: xmedgeneral