Learn about seizure types, what causes seizures, what happens during A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that happens when certain nerve cells in your brain misfire. It causes seizures, which can affect your behavior or the. If you are looking for information in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation. Many people have seizures that last for less than 5 minutes.
The child may have varying degrees of symptoms depending on the type of seizure. The following are general symptoms of a seizure or warning signs that your child may be experiencing seizures. Symptoms or warning signs may include:. Nodding the head rhythmically, when associated with loss of awareness or even loss of consciousness.
During the seizure, the child's lips may become bluish and breathing may not be normal. The movements are often followed by a period of sleep or disorientation. The symptoms of a seizure may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
The full extent of the seizure may not be completely understood immediately after onset of symptoms, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of a seizure is made with a physical examination and diagnostic tests. Seizures may be due to neurological problems and require further medical follow up.
A procedure that records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp. Magnetic resonance imaging MRI. A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Lumbar puncture spinal tap. A special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid CSF can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems.
CSF is the fluid that bathes your child's brain and spinal cord. The goal of seizure management is to control, stop, or decrease the frequency of the seizures without interfering with the child's normal growth and development.
The major goals of seizure management include the following:. There are many types of medications used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Medications are selected based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, the cost of the medication, and the adherence with the use of the medication. Medications used at home are usually taken by mouth as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrup , but some can be given rectally into the child's rectum. If the child is in the hospital with seizures, medication by injection or intravenous IV may be used.
It is important to give your child his or her medication on time and as prescribed by your child's doctor. Different people use up the medication in their body differently, so adjustments schedule and dosage may need to be made for good control of seizures.
All medications can have side effects, although some children may not experience side effects. Discuss your child's medication side effects with his or her doctor. While your child is taking medications, different tests may be done to monitor the effectiveness of the medication. These tests may include the following:.
Frequent blood draws testing is usually required to check the level of the medication in the body. Based on this level, the doctor may increase or decrease the dose of the medication to achieve the desired level. This level is called the therapeutic level and is where the medication works most efficiently. Blood work may also be done to monitor the affects of medications on body organs. These tests are performed to see how the child's body is responding to the medication.
This test is done to monitor how the medication is helping the electrical problems in the brain. Certain children who are having problems with medications, or whose seizures are not being well-controlled, may be placed on a special diet called the ketogenic diet.
This type of diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. The ketogenic diet is sometimes offered to those children who continue to have seizures while on seizure medication.
When the medications do not work, a ketogenic diet may be considered. No one knows exactly how the diet works, but some children do become seizure-free when put on the diet. However, the diet does not work for everyone. The ketogenic diet is very high in fat about 90 percent of the calories come from fat. Protein is given in amounts to help promote growth. A very small amount of carbohydrate is included in the diet. This very high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet causes the body to make ketones.
Ketones are made by the body from the breakdown of fat. They are made for energy when the body does not get enough carbohydrates for energy. If your child eats too many carbohydrates, then his or her body may not make ketones. The presence of ketones is important to the success of the diet.
Your child's doctor will determine if this diet is right for your child. When the ketogenic diet is started, your child will be admitted to the hospital. It may take four to five days in the hospital to get the diet started and for you to learn how to plan the diet.
The signs of a seizure depend on the type of seizure. Major Types of Seizures. Seizures are classified into two groups. Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain. Absence seizures , sometimes called petit mal seizures, can cause rapid blinking or a few seconds of staring into space.
Tonic-clonic seizures , also called grand mal seizures, can make a person Cry out. Fall to the ground. Have muscle jerks or spasms.
Simple focal seizures affect a small part of the brain. These seizures can cause twitching or a change in sensation, such as a strange taste or smell. Complex focal seizures can make a person with epilepsy confused or dazed. The person will be unable to respond to questions or direction for up to a few minutes. Seizures can be frightening, but most last only a few minutes, stop on their own, and are not life-threatening. A person who has had two or more seizures may be diagnosed with epilepsy , also known as seizure disorder.
During a seizure, many neurons fire all at once. This abnormal electrical activity can cause different symptoms depending on the part of the brain involved, including unusual sensations, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.
And anything that results in a sudden lack of oxygen or reduced blood flow to the brain can cause a seizure. In some cases, a seizure's cause is never found. While they can be scary to watch, these seizures are usually brief and rarely cause any serious or long-term problems, unless the fever is related to a serious infection, such as meningitis.
Syncope SIN-ko-pee , or fainting, is not uncommon in older kids and teens.
Seizures and Epilepsy: Frequently Asked Questions
Types of Seizures. There are several different types of seizures. Most seizures can be categorized as either focal or generalized. Learn about the different types of seizures. Call if a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if the person gets injured during the seizure. Learn seizure first. A seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer. One seizure occurs right after another without the person regaining consciousness or coming to between seizures. Seizures.