Epilepsy Seizures or Fits: Causes, Diagnosis & First Aid Treatment

Hello friends and patients!

Today we will be discussing about Seizure disorder – in common man’s language called as Fits.

 

What is a seizure?

 

As we know that our brain is made up of nerve cells or neurons, and these neurons talk to each other through electrical signals.

 

Seizures happen if there is an abnormal, unregulated electrical discharge from the neurons leading to interruption of normal brain function.

 

A seizure typically causes altered awareness, abnormal sensations, focal involuntary movements, or convulsions.

 

About 2% of adults have a seizure at some time during their life. Two thirds of these people never have another one.

 

Symptoms of a seizure:

During a seizure or epileptic attack, a person may:

 

Fall down and start shaking

Become unconscious or confused

Usually after a few minutes, the nerve cells start to behave normally and the person returns to normal.

 

What causes a seizure?

 

In half of the cases the cause is unknown or idiopathic. But there are some known causes depending on the age of the person

 

If your first seizure happens before the age of 2, the cause is usually different than if your first seizure happens when you’re an adult.

 

If the first seizure happens before age 2, common causes are:

 

High fever that is known as febrile seizure

Problems with the body’s chemical balance, called metabolic disorders

A birth defect of the brain

Lack of oxygen during birth ie Hypoxia

Use of certain drugs by the mother during pregnancy

If the first seizure happens after age 18, common causes are:

 

Head injury

Stroke

Brain tumor

Alcohol withdrawal (ie after sudden stopping of alcohol consumption )

If you have had only 1 seizure , it is most often caused by:

 

Low blood levels of oxygen or sugar(hypoglycaemia)

Head injury

Prescription medicines

Lack of sleep

Brain infection (such as meningitis)

High fever

Cardiac arrhythmias

Seizures can be caused by flashing lights or video games (reflex epilepsy), but this is rare.

 

 

What happens during a seizure?

 

You may have symptoms before a seizure (called an aura). You may notice:

 

Strange smell

Strange taste

Feeling of déjà vu (a feeling like something happening right now has happened before)

You might get a  Feeling like you’re about to have a seizure

During a seizure, you aren’t aware of what’s going on and can’t talk or respond. However, you’re still breathing.

 

During a seizure, you may:

 

Fall down and start shaking all over or

Stare blankly or become confused

You may Go limp and pass out

You might Not be able to talk

You might Lose control of your bladder or bowels, causing you to urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement (poop)

After the seizure, you may  feel a little confused for an hour or two and have symptoms like:

 

Headache

Sore muscles

Feeling very weak and tired

 

 

What should you do when you see a person having seizure?

 

Some seizures are more dangerous than others. While there isn’t much you can do during a seizure to stop it, you can help protect the individual and provide assistance. 19 out of 20 seizures stop by themselves within 2-3 minutes although there can be a prolonged period of confusion afterwards. For seizures which last longer than 5 minutes, a call for an ambulance should be placed

 

Here are some things to be mindful of during a seizure.

 

Don’t panic—most seizures stop on their own in a minute or two

Keep the person away from things that could cause injury (such as stairs or sharp objects)

Loosen tight clothing around the person’s neck so that he can breathe properly

Roll the person onto one side as this will prevent aspiration of secretions into his lungs

Put a pillow under the person’s head

Stay with the person until the seizure is over and note the duration of the seizure

Call a doctor if seizure is not stopping after a few minutes.

Despite what you might have heard:

 

DONOT put a spoon or key or anything else in the person’s mouth

DONOT try to move the person.

DONOT try to hold the person’s tongue as these  will only cause harm to the patient rather than any benefit to the person.

 

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