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Articles

 Seizures

Seizures


Alternate Name's:

  • Non-epileptic Seizures
  • Provoked Seizures
  • Seizure Disorder

About Seizures

  • Seizures are abnormal movements and behaviors that are due to some unusual electrical activity in the brain.
  • Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy but not everyone who has seizures has epilepsy. There are different kinds of seizures that include non-epileptic seizures, provoked seizures and seizure disorder.
  • Non-epileptic seizures are not associated with abnormal brain activity but could be because of psychological issues and stress.
  • This type of seizure can be treated with psychiatric work. Provoked seizures are seizures that occur because of a trauma, low blood sugar, low sodium, alcohol or drug abuse or a high fever.
  • Seizures that are fever related can occur in children from infancy to age six.

Seizure disorders are a condition where the seizures may be a symptom.

Seizures Symptoms

 

General Symtoms

  • A person that is having a seizure may make some kind of sound, stiffen up and make rhythmic movements in the arms and legs
  • Eyes are usually open
  • The person may appear like they are not breathing
  • Returning to the state of consciousness is slow and should take place within a few minutes
  • Loss of urine
  • People are often confused
  • Strange sensations
  • Small repetitive movements
  • Dazed, confused
  • Impairment in consciousness
  • Repetitive blinking

Other Symptoms

  • Generalized seizures involve all areas of the brain and are often referred to as grand mal seizures.
  • Partialseizures or focal seizures are when only part of the brain is involved and only part of the body is affected.
  • The symptoms of these types of seizures may vary.
  • Petit mal seizures are common in childhood and are generally brief.

Seizures Treatment

There are various treatments for epilepsy that include medications and surgeries.

  • Non surgical treatments,
  • Ketogenic diets
  • Biofeedback
  • Melatonin
  • Vitamins
  • Surgeries
  • Vagus nerve stimulation

Basic Treatment of Seizures

Please consult your doctor before starting any treatment.

  • Medications - this requires an accurate diagnosis of the type of epilepsy in order to prescribe the correct medication and include Tegretol and Carbatrol which are used to treat general or partial seizures, Zarontin is used to treat absence seizures, Felbatol is used to treat partial and general seizures, Gabitril is used along with other drugs to help treat partial and generalized seizures, Keppra is also used along with other drugs to help treat partial seizures, Lamicital, Lyrica, Neurontin, Phenytoin, Topamaz, Trileptal, Depakene, Zonegran and Valium are all used to treat seizures.
  • Ketogenic diet - this is one of the oldest treatments used for epilepsy and is intended to try to maintain the fasting metabolism over long periods of time. When the body is fasting, it starts to create ketones which are a byproduct of metabolism. It has been shown to make seizures lessen or disappear. The diet is low in carbohydrates and is high in fat.
  • Biofeedback - this is a method of using imagery and realization to be able to change the functions such as breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. Patients who may have their seizures triggered from stress could possibly see benefits from biofeedback.
  • Melatonin - this is a hormone that is made in the pineal gland and it may be used to reduce the amount of seizures with children.
  • Epilepsy surgeries - these include brain surgery, corpus callosotomy, extratemporal cortical, functional hemispherectomy, lesionectomy, multiple subpial transection and temporal lobe resection.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation - this is a technique that involves implanting a device like a pace maker that can stimulate the vagus nerve.

Advanced Treatment of Seizures

  • The surgical treatments and vagus nerve stimulation are done after surgery screening to see if the patient is a good candidate.
  • They are more intensive forms of treatment than alternative methods or medications.

Seizures Causes

Epilepsy is a term that is used to describe the tendency to have seizures.

  • It is usually diagnosed after a person has had more than one occurrence of a seizure.
  • The causes of epilepsy usually come from some kind of injury to the brain.
  • For a lot of people, the cause of their epilepsy is not known.
  • Seizures occur when there is a burst of impulses in the brain that get out of their normal boundaries.
  • They then spread around to other areas and make an uncontrolled series of electrical activity.
  • The impulses can be sent to the muscles, which causes the twitching and convulsions.
  • There are about 180,000 cases of epilepsy reported each year and about thirty percent of those cases are with children.

Main causes of seizures and epilepsy include:

  • Low oxygen during birth
  • Certain head injuries that can occur during birth or from accidents
  • Brain tumors
  • Genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis
  • Infections like meningitis and encephalitis
  • A stroke or other kind of damage to the brain
  • Abnormal amounts of substances like blood sugar or sodium
  • Missing doses of medication
  • Heavy use of alcohol
  • Drug use
  • Not enough sleep
  • Taking other medicines that can interfere with medication for seizures

Risk Factors:

  • Women are more likely to develop seizures
  • Young children and the elderly are more prone to have seizures
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain caused by trauma or genetics
  • High blood sugar or sodium content

Basic Tests and Diagnosis of Seizures

The diagnosis of epilepsy is based on a number of factors that include:

  • Medical history of the patient and family history
  • The age the seizures started
  • The circumstances and factors that could have brought on the seizure
  • If others were present during the seizure, they should come with the patient to tell the doctor additional details of the seizure.

Advanced Tests and Diagnosis of Seizures

  • Electroencephalogram - this measures the electrical impulses that are in the brain
  • Imaging tests of the brain like the ones done with an MRI
  • Blood tests - measure the red and white blood cell count, the blood calcium, blood sugar and electrolytes.
  • MRS, PET

Diagnosis:

  • The most important thing about diagnosing epilepsy is to have the correct diagnosis for which type of seizures the patient is having.
  • Different tests can help the doctor know which type of epilepsy the patient has in order to get them the correct treatment plan.
  • The treatment plans that the doctor prescribes are based on a number of factors with the patient.
  • Other medications that the patient may be currently taking run the risk of interacting with the medications prescribed for epilepsy so the patient needs to inform the doctor of all medications that he or she is on.

Tests of Seizures

  • The tests involve a complete neurological and physical examination of the muscle strength, eyesight, reflexes, hearing and other tests on the patient so that the doctors can correctly know the type of epilepsy.
  • It is sometimes necessary that the doctor do a variety of tests to be able to accurately diagnose a patient which can include doing blood work to test levels of sodium and sugar in the blood and neurological tests to detect any problems that could be causing the epilepsy or seizures.

Things to Tell/Ask your Doctor

  • Tell your doctor about all of your episodes with seizures including details on what you were doing, how you felt and what brought it on
  • Discuss with your doctor the different treatment options that are available to you to help determine what would be the best treatment

Indian Context
 

Seizures in India
 

Incidence/Causes in India

In India, there are a lot of cases of epilepsy and seizures.

  • It has been estimated that India and other developing countries have the highest rates of epilepsy and seizures.
  • This could be due to a number of reasons that include both environmental and social economical causes.
  • There are also different kinds of epilepsy and seizures that exist everywhere in the world and those most common among women and children are found in India.
  • Pregnant women also face a higher risk of having seizures in India than in other parts of the world.
  • Seizures during pregnancy can be dangerous to the mother and the baby. Some women in India experience epilepsy and seizures before they are pregnant but are not treated for them.
  • This could cause them to have more complications during their pregnancy and after the birth.

Miscellaneous

  • Some researchers believe that there are more cases of epilepsy and seizures in countries like India because of certain conditions and diseases that are more commonly found there such as neurocysticercosis, meningitis and malaria.
  • In addition, pre natal and peri-natal complications account for many of the cases of epilepsy and seizures.
  • Children are more prone to develop epilepsy and seizures because of conditions like malnutrition and not getting the care that they need.

Seizures Conditions

  • There are different levels of seizures and epilepsy that range from petit mal to grand mal.
  • Some people may only experience mild seizures once and a while, for others they could be on a regular basis.

References/Resources -

www.nih.com

Alternate Therapy of Seizures

  • Alternative treatments such as biofeedback and following a strict diet are two of the most popular forms of treatment for those who do not want to be on medication to treat their seizures and epilepsy.
  • It is also an option for those who do not want to undergo surgery to try to relieve their symptoms of epilepsy.
  • Surgery is more invasive and expensive than the natural healing remedies of following a diet that is low in carbohydrates and higher in fats or participating in biofeedback.
  • Stress relieving techniques are also recommended for people in India who are looking for a natural approach to healing.
 
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