When To Get Emergency Help
It is important to remember that seizures usually do not cause brain damage, unless they last for more than 30 to 60 minutes. However, you should call for emergency help if any of the following occurs:
- Your child has trouble breathing during the seizure and the child’s color changes.
- The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or if a cluster of seizures lasts more than 5 minutes.
- Your child chokes on secretions .
- Your child is injured during a fall or during the seizure and requires first aid .
- Have someone stay close to your child after the seizure. Within 30 minutes you should be able to get some response from him, such as opening his eyes, pushing you away or beginning to arouse. If you cannot get any response from your child within 30 minutes after the seizure, you should get emergency help. For more information on how to care for your child during a seizure, refer to the Helping Hand: Seizure Care, HH-I-61.
If you have any questions, please ask your childs doctor or nurse.
If you need to speak with someone after regular office hours, call the hospital operator at 722-2000 and ask to speak with the neurology physician on call.
Cerebral Palsy And Epilepsy
Children who have cerebral palsy are highly susceptible to seizures. The type and frequency of the seizures will depend on what causes them. Around 94% of children with cerebral palsy will have some type of seizures in their childhood. While that percentage sounds alarming, once parents are aware of what is happening, epileptic seizures can be safely managed.
How Are Seizures Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. Youll be asked about other factors that may have caused your childs seizure, such as:
Recent fever or infection
Your child may also have:
A neurological exam
Blood tests to check for problems in blood sugar and other factors
Imaging tests of the brain, such as a magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan
Electroencephalogram to test the electrical activity in your childs brain
Lumbar puncture to measure the pressure in the brain and spinal canal and test the cerebrospinal fluid for infection or other problems
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How Can I Help My Child Live With Epilepsy
You can help your child with epilepsy manage his or her health:
If age-appropriate, make sure your child understands the type of seizure he or she has and the type of medicine that is needed.
Know the dose, time, and side effects of all medicines. Give your child medicine exactly as directed.
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider before giving your child other medicines. Medicines for seizures can interact with many other medicines. This can cause the medicines to not work well, or cause side effects.
Help your child avoid anything that may trigger a seizure. Make sure your child gets enough sleep, as lack of sleep can trigger a seizure.
Make sure your child visits his or her healthcare provider regularly. Have your child tested as often as needed.
Keep in mind that your child may not need medicine for life. Talk with the healthcare provider if your child has had no seizures for 1 to 2 years.
If your childs seizures are controlled well, you may not need many restrictions on activities. Make sure your child wears a helmet for sports such as skating, hockey, and bike riding. Make sure your child has adult supervision while swimming.
Seizures may affect your child’s ability to drive a vehicle. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about the laws in your state.
Girls with epilepsy should talk with their healthcare provider about the effect of seizures on birth control and family planning.
What Happens During Focal Seizures
What happens during focal aware and focal impaired awareness seizures depends on where in the brain the seizure happens and what that part of the brain normally does.
Some focal seizures involve movements, called motor symptoms and some involve unusual feelings or sensations called, non-motor symptoms.
Motor symptoms can include:
- making lip-smacking or chewing movements,
- repeatedly picking up objects or pulling at clothes
- suddenly losing muscle tone and limbs going limp or floppy, or limbs suddenly becoming stiff
- repetitive jerking movements that affect one or both sides of the body
- making a loud cry or scream or
- making strange postures or repetitive movements such as cycling or kicking.
Non-motor symptoms can include:
- changes or a rising feeling in the stomach or déjà vu
- getting an unusual smell or taste
- a sudden intense feeling of fear or joy
- a strange feeling like a wave going through the head
- stiffness or twitching in part of the body,
- a feeling of numbness or tingling
- a sensation that an arm or leg feels bigger or smaller than it actually is or
- visual disturbances such as coloured or flashing lights or hallucinations .
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of A Generalized Tonic
There are two parts to a generalized tonic-clonic seizure:
During the tonic phase:
- The muscles stiffen.
- The person loses consciousness and falls to the ground.
- They might bite their tongue during the seizure. But do not put anything in their mouth. It wont prevent the biting and can cause harm.
During the clonic phase:
- The arms and legs jerk quickly.
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures usually last 13 minutes. During the seizure, the person may lose control of their bladder or bowels.
For Generalized Onset Seizures:
- Motor symptoms may include sustained rhythmical jerking movements , muscles becoming weak or limp , muscles becoming tense or rigid , brief muscle twitching , or epileptic spasms .
- Non-motor symptoms are usually called absence seizures. These can be typical or atypical absence seizures . Absence seizures can also have brief twitches that can affect a specific part of the body or just the eyelids.
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Focal Seizure That Becomes Generalized
A focal seizure that becomes generalized begins with one part of the body and then spreads to the entire body. Unless you watch closely, it may look like the child has had a generalized seizure because the focal seizure may be so short that it is missed.
This type of seizure begins with nerve cells having extra discharges in one part of the brain. This then spreads and affects the whole brain. For a more detailed description of the various types of generalized seizures, refer to the Helping Hand: Seizures: Generalized, HH-I-182.
Cerebral Palsy And Epilepsy Explained
Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Some form of injury often causes this unusual electrical activity to occur.
Almost all children with cerebral palsy will also have some form of epilepsy. Epilepsy will often appear earlier in children with cerebral palsy than in other children. However, the frequency of epilepsy is highest in children with spastic quadriplegia and lowest in children with spastic diplegia .
Like cerebral palsy, epilepsy can present itself in different ways. Some seizures will be violent convulsions with a loss of consciousness. Others will cause an individual to look like they are zoning out or confused for a moment.
Epileptic seizures can be controlled with antiepileptic medications. In some cases, the underlying issue causing the seizures will resolve itself as your child ages.
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What Is Epilepsy In Children
Epilepsy is a brain condition that causes a child to have seizures. It is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system. It affects children and adults of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
The brain consists of nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical activity. A seizure occurs when one or more parts of the brain has a burst of abnormal electrical signals that interrupt normal brain signals. Anything that interrupts the normal connections between nerve cells in the brain can cause a seizure. This includes a high fever, high or low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or a brain concussion. But when a child has 2 or more seizures with no known cause, this is diagnosed as epilepsy.
There are different types of seizures. The type of seizure depends on which part and how much of the brain is affected and what happens during the seizure. The 2 main categories of epileptic seizures are focal seizure and generalized seizure.
How Are Seizures Classified Now
Generalized Onset Seizures:These seizures affect both sides of the brain or groups of cells on both sides of the brain at the same time. This term was used before and still includes seizures types like tonic-clonic, absence, or atonic to name a few.
Focal Onset Seizures:The term focal is used instead of partial to be more accurate when talking about where seizures begin. Focal seizures can start in one area or group of cells in one side of the brain.
- Focal Onset Aware Seizures: When a person is awake and aware during a seizure, its called a focal aware seizure. This used to be called a simple partial seizure.
- Focal Onset Impaired Awareness: When a person is confused or their awareness is affected in some way during a focal seizure, its called a focal impaired awareness seizure. This used to be called a complex partial seizure.
Unknown Onset Seizures:When the beginning of a seizure is not known, its now called an unknown onset seizure. A seizure could also be called an unknown onset if its not witnessed or seen by anyone, for example when seizures happen at night or in a person who lives alone.
- As more information is learned, an unknown onset seizure may later be diagnosed as a focal or generalized seizure.
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Prognosis And Outlook For Intractable Epilepsy
The prognosis or outlook of intractable epilepsy can be mixed. Intractable epilepsy has the potential to be progressive . If people with epilepsy and their doctors dont pursue treatment, there may be several risks to consider, including potential damage to the nervous system, comorbidities such as bone fractures or depression, and limitations on education, social life, and career. However, with advances in techniques such as vagus nerve and deep brain stimulation, people with intractable epilepsy may move toward a better quality of life.
Symptoms Of Glioblastomas And When To Call Your Doctor
A glioblastoma, otherwise known as a glioblastoma multiforme or GBM, is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. It is the most common type of malignant tumor in adults most often in older adults, though it can occur at any age. A GBM is made up of cells called astrocytes that support nerve cells.
Glioblastomas can cause worsening of common, everyday symptoms, like headaches, nausea, and vomiting. This article outlines the various symptoms to look for and when you should see a doctor.
Early signs and symptoms of glioblastomas relate to the tumors location and its size, but can include:
If you or someone you know is experiencing one or many of the above symptoms consistently, its best to see your provider to determine if you need further diagnostic tests and procedures.
For information about Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy for brain tumors, visit GammaTile Therapy.
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Focal To Bilateral Tonic
Sometimes focal seizures spread from one side to both sides of the brain. This is called a focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizure.
When this happens the person becomes unconscious and will usually have a tonic clonic seizure. If this happens very quickly, they may not be aware that it started as a focal seizure.
What Type Of Seizure Affects Both Sides Of The Brain
What type of Seizure affects both sides of your brain? This is a question that many people struggle to answer. While the medical community has some hard facts, they are not all that certain as to what causes these episodes. Some things scientists have been able to pin down are the stress hormone levels in your body. While this is most often found in individuals who have suffered from some kind of traumatic accident or suffered from extreme child abuse.
The symptoms usually vary depending on which side of the brain is affected. Many times you will see that the person has difficulty with remembering things, focusing and paying attention. There is also a difference in the severity of the attacks. While some can be quite mild others can be very severe. When it comes to the side of the brain which is affected, it is known as the temporal lobe.
The second side of the brain that is affected is called the parietal lobe. This side of the brain deals with logical and rational thought. Most often people find that patients suffering from what type of Seizure affectates both sides of the brain tend to have problems with short-term memory. They also seem to have difficulties with long term memory. Sometimes patients will have difficulty concentrating on a task after they have become distracted by what they were previously working on.
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More Than 30 Types Have Been Reported
Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain whereas focal seizures happen in one area of the brain.
How do you know if someone is having a seizure? It’s not always obvious, and symptoms can vary widely. For example, some seizures cause a person to fall and shake, while others cause them to stare off and look confused.
There are two categories of seizures, based on where they start in the brain. Under those categories, there are many types. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , doctors have discovered more than 30 different types of seizures. Here’s a rundown of a few.
Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain at the same time. Some types include:
- Tonic-clonic seizures may cause a person to lose consciousness, this may cause them to fall to the ground, have muscle jerks or spasms, and cry out. They are also called grand mal seizures.
- Absence seizures cause rapid blinking or staring into space for a few seconds. They are also called petit mal seizures.
Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, happen in just one area of the brain. Some types include:
To learn more, visit the NINDS website.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who suspects they have had a seizure should seek medical attention. A doctor can determine what caused the seizure, the type of seizure it was, and discuss appropriate next steps.
In many cases, epilepsy can be effectively treated and managed with seizure medication. Receiving an accurate and timely diagnosis is essential.
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Cerebral Palsy Epilepsy Treatment And Therapy
Epilepsy can often be treated antiepileptic medication to limit or stop them from happening. However, some individuals can experience intense side effects from the medications, such as struggling to form and express their thoughts.
If a known brain injury is causing the seizures, surgery might also be an option, but it is not without its risks. Be sure to speak with your doctor about the different treatment options and the benefits and risks associated with each.
Tiffany Kairos Advocates For Those With Epilepsy
Courtesy Tiffany Kairos
In 2008, I had a serious car accident. Just before I lost control of the car, I remember a feeling of heaviness coming over me and seeing a flash of light. My last memory is of trying to reach the brake pedal with my left foot. I woke up in an ambulance and later learned that I had crossed several front yards before hitting a tree.
I didn’t break any bones, but the doctors determined that I had experienced a seizure and diagnosed me with . I was shocked. I didn’t know anything about the condition or anyone who had it. I was prescribed antiseizure medication and told I’d be taking it for the foreseeable future.
After the accident, I started having seizures more often and couldn’t keep a job. My husband, Chris, and I had to move in with family and struggled to pay our medical bills. I became depressed and angry. Fortunately, our families were loving and supportive.
I gradually came to accept my diagnosis, and Chris and I made an effort to learn more about it. Our research inspired us to establish The Epilepsy Network , an international community of people affected by epilepsy. I also started a blog called Rise Above Epilepsy. We created the network and blog to encourage others to share their stories.
By signing up, you agree to our and .
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Combined Generalized And Focal Epilepsy
Someone with combination epilepsy has both generalized seizures and focal seizures. Therefore, they can experience a mixture of the symptoms discussed above.
Combined epilepsy is linked to Dravet syndrome, which is a rare, lifelong form of epilepsy. It is usually caused by a mutation in the SCN1A gene. Because it is often misdiagnosed, people who think they or a family member may have these seizures should contact a doctor.
What Is A Clonic Seizure
“Clonus” means fast stiffening and relaxaing of a muscle that happens repeatedly. In other words, it is repeated jerking. The movements cannot be stopped by restraining or repositioning the arms or legs.
Clonic seizures are rare and most commonly occur in babies. Most often, clonic movements are seen as part of a tonic-clonic seizure.
- Jerking movements alone, as with a clonic seizure, may last a few seconds to a minute.
- Jerking or clonic movements that follow stiffening of muscles, as in a tonic-clonic seizure, can last seconds to 1-2 minutes.
- A clonic seizure may sometimes be hard to distinguish from a myoclonic seizure. The jerking is more regular and sustained during a clonic seizure.
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