Healthy Living

Do You Know Enough About Seizures?

Do You Know Enough About Seizures?

Key Takeaways

  • There can be many causes of a seizure including factors such as the lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • In most cases, seizures can be triggered suddenly by unknown causes.
  • Most seizures fall under the generalized seizures category; wherein the patients tend to lose their consciousness.

Any changes in the electrical system of the brain can cause a seizure. It can sometimes be called an attack, convulsion, spell, or a fit. There can be many causes for a single seizure such as lack of oxygen, infection, tumor, high fever, trauma, poisoning, or after a brain surgery. It is important to note that most seizures can be controlled using medications. However, when these seizures occur repeatedly, there is a likelihood of a chronic disorder known as epilepsy.

What Is a Seizure?

Seizures are known to happen as a result of an abnormal electric discharge in the brain. It is possible that this abnormal electric discharge can result in a behavioral change even without you being aware of it. When a seizure happens, there is a possibility that you may make some unusual jerky movements, stare aimlessly into space, fall down, or even experience some kind of unusual sensations in your stomach. It is important to note that you do not have any control while a seizure is taking place. Some seizures could be triggered by a lack of sleep, flashing lights, low blood sugar, and some medications.

What to Do During a Seizure?

A seizure does not usually last long. In fact, in most cases, the condition typically lasts only for up to three minutes. In some cases, a seizure could be over even before emergency medication is given. As an immediate action to a patient having a seizure attack, it is best to stay calm and help the patient calm down as well. When a seizure occurs, the following guidelines will be applicable:

  • Ensure the person's head is cushioned. It is important to use any available things to cushion the head. It could be the legs, pillow, or any other soft object. During a seizure, people have little or no control over their movements and can hit their head against a hard surface that could result in an injury or trauma.
  • A tight neckwear should be loosened to help people breathe.
  • Avoid trying to control the mouth movements of the person having a seizure by inserting any kind of object. Most people think that inserting an object in the mouth would prevent tongue biting, but it would not help at all. Instead, there will be a higher possibility to cause more harm as the teeth can be broken and can cause choking.
  • The person should be turned onto his or her side in such a way that the tongue then falls on the side of the mouth. This position will help clear the airways for normal breathing.

The person who is having a seizure should not be restrained in any way except if there is a lurking danger because it is possible for them to become aggressive when you do so. They should be allowed to do whatever comes to their mind, but reassure them by talking to them with a mild voice. What happens during a seizure should be properly handled before it goes out of hand.

At the end, it is important to tell the person about the seizure and ensure that his or her breathing is normal. At this point, it is also good to confirm if the person’s awareness is back by asking some questions like, “Where are you?”

What Causes Seizures?       

The reality remains that about 1 in 10 people will likely have a seizure during their lifetime. However, what causes seizures in 70% of the time remains unknown. For some, there are some known causes.

First, it can be neurological, which is caused by:

  • genetic defects of the brain
  • head injury
  • brain tumor
  • poisoning
  • infections like abscess and meningitis
  • after a brain surgery
  • a lack of oxygen going into the brain

Secondly, it can cardiovascular that is caused by:

  • irregular heart beats
  • irregular blood pressure
  • stroke

It can also be psychological due to:

What causes the seizures could be traced to diseases such as:

  • liver or kidney failure
  • high fever, especially in children
  • withdrawal from alcohol or drugs
  • pregnancy
  • low blood pressure
  • metabolism disorders

However, it is important not to confuse a seizure with the similar condition called "syncope." Syncope happens when there is insufficient blood flowing into the brain. Note that the usual cause of syncope is a cardiovascular disease.

What Are the Different Types of Seizures?

Seizures are generally classified into two categories, namely generalized and partial, which are also known as local and focal seizures. The classification of seizure is important to rule out the chances of epilepsy in the patient.

  • Generalized seizures - under the broad category of generalized seizures, there are six types of seizures. The most common among these is known as a generalized convulsion. In this condition, the patient loses his or her consciousness and generally collapses. This type of seizure can also be accompanied by the stiffening of the body, which is also known as the "tonic period" in a seizure. After the tonic period, the patient gets into violent movements or jerking known as the "clonic period" followed by a deep sleep state, which is called the "after seizure" phase.
  • Absence seizures - these seizures are associated with a temporary loss of consciousness that lasts for about a few seconds. The patient goes blank while doing an activity and may not realize the symptoms. These seizures can trigger suddenly and end the same way. It can also occur several times a day. In this form of the seizure, the patient is now aware of having a seizure but can be confused as "daydreaming."
  • Myoclonic seizures - these seizures are characterized by sudden jerks, usually felt on both sides of the body. These jerks resemble electric shocks that shake up the body. When the patient gets uncontrollable or violent due to a seizure, he may throw or drop objects unknowingly.
  • Clonic seizures - these seizures occur repeatedly and cause rhythmic jerks wherein the left and right sides of the body are involved at the same time.
  • Tonic seizures - are the seizures that can begin by the stiffening of the muscles and then a person will lose consciousness.
  • Atonic seizures - people may suddenly feel a loss of muscular strength in their arms and legs that can lead to an imbalance and often results in falls that could be dangerous in some cases.

What Treatments are Available for Seizures?

There are medications for seizures and one of them is Cerebyx. It is important to note that Cerebyx is an anticonvulsant that helps regulate the impulses within the brain that causes the seizure in the first place. This drug can be taken on a daily basis for as long as it is required, but note that it must be prescribed and monitored by a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional.

Sometimes, Cerebyx is also called fosphenytoin, which performs a good job in controlling seizures. However, note that Cerebyx has its own side effects, which means that before taking this drug, it is important to reveal your medical history to your doctor to ensure that it is the right treatment for you. For example, your doctor expects to know the following before giving any prescription:

  • Your general state of health
  • If you have any issues with allergies from medicines and food
  • For women: any plans on getting pregnant or if currently breastfeeding

Note that while Cerebyx is an effective drug to control seizures, it is important to understand that there are relative contraindications to this drug. For example, it is not safe to take sleeping pills while you are on Cerebyx. It is still best to consult your healthcare practitioner if you are taking other types of medication.