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Seizures (also called epilepsy or epileptic seizures) in the relevant context) are temporary abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, which can produce a temporary loss of consciousness (a "blackout"), a body convulsion, unusual movements, or staring spells. Mayo Clinic describes epilepsy in these words: "Epilepsy is a disorder that disrupts the transmission of electrical signals inside the brain. Although you may assume that epilepsy always causes episodes of uncontrolled movements and loss of consciousness, the condition is actually quite variable. Symptom episodes — known as seizures — are often subtle, causing strange sensations, emotions and behavior. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds when having a seizure, while others have full-fledged convulsions."[1]

Epilepsy is a complicated and very complex brain disorder, mostly characterized by seizures. Nature of such seizures varies widely depending on the particular type of seizure and the individual person concerned. It may occur at any age, but its onset is more common among children and persons of 65 and over. In younger persons, seizures can be subtle like a brief loss of memory or a bit of confusion. Persons with such type of seizure may look to other persons "to be staring into space and be unresponsive for a few seconds[1]." It's estimated that a quarter to a third of children with learning disabilities on the autism spectrum will experience an epileptic fit by adulthood. [2] Sometimes a contributing factor is a lack of sleep or a high fever.

In most cases, seizures can be controlled by antiepileptic medications. The dosage of the medication should be adjusted carefully so that the least possible amount of medication will be used to be effective.

Types and signs

Seizers may take many forms. Some of the typical types of seizures include the following types:

  • Partial seizures
    • Simple partial seizures:
    • Complex partial seizures:
  • Generalized seizures
    • Absence seizures:
    • Myoclonic seizures:
    • Atonic seizures:
    • Tonic-clonic seizures:

Risk factors

  • Family history: A family history of seizures by one or more parents and any sibling is one of the risk factors for developing seizures.
  • Head injuries: Injuries in the head increases the risk of seizures. Wearing a seat belt while riding/ driving a car, using helmets (while driving bikes, skiing and similar activities with dangers of head injuries) may avoid serious head injuries.
  • Stroke and heart diseases: stroke and heart diseases harm the brain and may trigger the onset of epileptic seizures. Reduction in risk factors for such diseases indirectly reduces the risk of seizures.

Other factors: Some of the other risk factors contributing to the development of epileptic seizures are infections of the brain (for example, meningitis and prolonged seizures in childhood as a result of high fevers.

External links

References

  1. Epilepsy - Introduction
  2. Wing, L. The Autistic Spectrum. London: Constable, 1996.
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