Seizures/Epilepsy - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Seizures/Epilepsy - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Recurrent seizures are a hallmark of the brain condition epilepsy. The friendly importance of a seizure is a steep difference in manners brought on by a transient disruption in the electrical activity of the brain. Commonly,...


Recurrent seizures are a hallmark of the brain condition epilepsy. The friendly importance of a seizure is a steep difference in manners brought on by a transient disruption in the electrical activity of the brain. Commonly, the brain continuously stimulates minute electrical impulses that pursue a systematic pattern. Neurotransmitters are chemical precursors that assist these impulses going along neurons, the web of nerve cells in the brain.

Recurrent seizures are an expected sign of epilepsy because of an inequality in the brain's electrical cycles. Sudden and synchronized electrical energy bursts that may briefly alter a patient's consciousness, mobility, or sensations interrupt the usual electrical rhythm in individuals with seizures.

A diagnosis of epilepsy is normally determined when a person has at least two seizures that are unrelated to another recognized medical disease, such as alcohol withdrawal or dangerously low blood sugar.

The first signs of a seizure that come from a certain area of the brain typically match up with that area's capabilities. While the right half of the brain supervisions the left side of the body, the left half supervisions the right side. If a seizure begins on the right flank of the brain, in the region that governs thumb movement, it may commence with jerking of the left thumb or hand, for illustration.

Seizure Types

Epilepsy doctors routinely reclassify seizure categories due to the wide range of seizures. GePartial seizures are the two main types into which seizures typically fall. The way they start varies across different categories. A vast electrical discharge that simultaneously affects both sides of the brain in primary generalized seizures' first stages. A small portion of the brain experiences an electrical discharge to start a partial seizure.

Generalized epilepsy is a type of epilepsy in which both sides of the brain experience seizures at the same time. Hereditary factors have an impact on partial generalized epilepsy, which is more likely to have genetic reasons than partial epilepsy, a condition in which a particular region of the brain generates seizures.

In those who are prone to seizures, the following elements may raise the risk of seizures:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inadequate dietary intake
  • Using alcohol or abusing drugs
  • Refusal to take anticonvulsant medication as directed

About half of the individuals who experience one seizure without a known cause go on to experience another, typically within six months. If a person has known brain damage or another form of brain abnormality, they are twice as likely to experience another seizure. There is a roughly 80% likelihood that the patient may experience additional seizures if they do have two.

The likelihood that the patient would develop epilepsy is higher if the patient's first seizure happened as a result of a brain injury or infection than if it did not.

Occurrence and Prevalence

Three million individuals in the United States and 50 million people worldwide are affected with epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. The etiology of epileptic seizures is unknown in 70% of cases, while they may be linked to heredity or brain damage. The Epilepsy Therapy Project calculates that 10% of people will retain a seizure at some fact in their lives.

More than 300,000 kids under the age of 15 have epilepsy, and more than 90,000 of these kids experience seizures that cannot be effectively treated. The incidence pace begins to boost as the public ages, especially when more individuals suffer from strokes, brain tumors, or Alzheimer's disorder, all of which can result in epilepsy. Around 570,000 people over 65 are contrived by the disease.

Reasons that cause Seizures

There is no known cause of epilepsy in roughly 50% of cases. The condition may be related to several factors in the other half, including:

An element of genetics. Some types of epilepsy run in families and can be categorized into groups based on the sort of seizure you have or the region of the brain that is affected. In these cases, hereditary factors are presumably involved.

  • Head Trauma: Head trauma caused by a car accident or any traumatic event can cause epilepsy.
  • Irregularities In The Brain: Anomalies in the brain, such as tumors or vascular anomalies like arteriovenous and cavernous malformations, can cause epilepsy (AVMs). Stroke is the primary cause of epilepsy in persons over 35.
  • Infections: Meningitis, HIV, viral encephalitis, and several parasitic diseases can all result in epilepsy.
  • A Birth Defect: Babies are susceptible to brain damage before birth, which can be caused by a mother's infection, poor nutrition, or oxygen deprivation, among other factors. This brain injury may lead to epilepsy or cerebral palsy.
  • Issues With Development: Epilepsy and developmental disorders like autism sometimes coexist.

Indications for Seizures

Epilepsy affects more men than women. Children and teenagers are more prone to suffer from genetically based or undiagnosed epilepsy. Any generation can encounter epilepsy as a consequence of a disorder or damage to the brain. 70% of youngsters and adults with recently analyzed epilepsy can be anticipated to enter remission after shelling out five years or extended without a seizure while accepting medicine. In expansion, 75% of the populace who don't have seizures while seizing medicine can progressively quit taking it.

Factors That May Cause Epilepsy

  • Low birth weight or birth abnormalities
  • Trauma located with birth (such as scarcity of oxygen)
  • Seizures in the initial month of life birth aberrations in the anatomy of the brain
  • Brain bleeding uncommon, brain blood vessel expansion, severe brain injury, or scarcity of oxygen to the brain
  • Brain tumor
  • Encephalitis and meningitis are examples of brain infections
  • Stroke caused by arterial blockage
  • Spinal paralysis
  • Mental disorders
  • A few days after a brain injury, seizures that begin, a family history of epilepsy, or fever-induced convulsions
  • Alzheimer's disease (late in the illness)
  • Seizures resulting from a prolonged fever or excessive alcohol or drug use


The existence of epilepsy is specified by a physician established on a patient's signs, bodily examination marks, and the outcomes of examinations for example an electroencephalogram (EEG), or computed tomography.

Both the kind of epilepsy and the sort of seizures must be precisely analyzed. Seizures can be divided into several primary categories, and the majority of these categories are linked to particular types of conditions.


Treatments for epilepsy include surgery, dietary counseling, and antiepileptic medications (AEDs). Nearly all patients with numerous seizures obtain medicine as their initial procedure of therapy. If a patient just has one seizure and testing reveals that there is a small possibility of a seizure recurrence, they might not need medication. Rather than treating the underlying situation, the drugs address the signs of epilepsy. (seizures). The vast majority of patients (about 7are quite successful and completely control seizures. By lessening brain cells' propensity to send erratic and excessive electrical signals, the medications stop seizures before they even begin.


Given the range of antiepileptic drugs currently available on the market, selecting the appropriate one for a given patient has become more difficult. The category of seizure and the kind of epilepsy, probable drug side impacts, underlying medical disorders the patient may have, potential drug dealing with other medicines the patient may be taking, age, gender, and medication cost are just a few factors that could affect the medication of choice.

Before taking any medication, patients should talk to their doctors about the possible advantages, drawbacks, and risks.


Diet therapy may help certain people with specific kinds of epilepsy. The modified Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet are the two that are used the most frequently. Even though the modified Atkins diet has fewer restrictions, it is comparable to the ketogenic diet. In almost half of the people who are considered to be suitable candidates, both diets have been demonstrated to reduce seizure frequency.

With these modalities, over 70% of patients have seizures that are well under control; the remaining 30% do not and are regarded as medically resistant. Multidisciplinary care is frequently provided to patients with medically resistant epilepsy at specialized epilepsy clinics.

The group of skilled professionals who work together to give these patients thorough epilepsy diagnosis and care could consist of:

  • Epileptologists of adult age
  • Pediatric seizure specialists
  • Nurses who specialize in epilepsy
  • Neurosurgery for epilepsy
  • EEG specialists
  • Neuropsychologists in practice
  • Psychiatrists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • radiologists in nuclear medicine
  • Dietitians
  • Nurses in neuroscience


Surgery offers the best possibility of complete seizure control in patients whose seizures are resistant to conventional treatment. But not all refractory epilepsy sufferers make good surgical candidates. In addition to being resistant, they must also have partial epilepsy rather than generalized epilepsy.

The epileptic spot should also be situated in a part of the brain that won't likely suffer from serious neurological issues if it is removed. To establish if patients may likely benefit from surgery, extensive testing is conducted. (pre-surgical evaluation).

A one- or two-phase pre-surgical evaluation is used to decide whether surgery is the best course of action and can offer effective seizure control with little risk. All non-invasive (non-surgical) examinations are part of Phase I. Phase II testing uses invasive procedures on a small percentage of patients and necessitates surgery.

Phase I Assessment (Noninva Sive Tests)

Every test that is offered in the Phase I examination is not necessary for every patient. Patients with adult and pediatric epilepsy are assessed by epileptologists, who decide on an individual basis which tests are required and appropriate.

The phase I evaluation may call for the tests listed below:

Electroencephalography (EEG)

Every patient undergoes this initial test, which is often performed as an outpatient procedure. (pictured here). It is used to diagnose epilepsy as well as establish whether the epileptic convulsions are coming from the entire brain or only a small portion of the brain (partial seizures). ( generalized).

Adult and pediatric epilepsy monitoring units offer inpatient video-EEG monitoring. (EMU)

With electrodes affixed to the scalp, this crucial pre-operative examination is carried out. (noninvasive monitoring). To capture seizures with simultaneous video and EEG, patients are hospitalized for a few days. An epileptologist who has received training examines all the data.

Resonance Imaging Using Magnets (MRI)

Lesional epilepsy, which could be detected by this, maybe the source of epilepsy or it may be normal. (non-lesional epilepsy). Subtle brain anomalies are more frequently found with the use of sophisticated MRI scanners, customized protocols, and software.

Phase II Assessment

Several surgical implantation techniques are available. These electrodes have the advantage of being more nearby the location causing the seizures than those merely applied to the scalp. The patients are moved to the epilepsy monitoring facility after the surgical implantation of electrodes, where epileptologists conduct video-EEG monitoring in a manner akin to phase I monitoring.

Living with and Managing Epilepsy

Two potentially fatal disorders, tonic-clonic status epilepticus and impulsive unexplained demise in epilepsy, can impact a person with epilepsy. (SUDEP). A long-lasting seizure discovered as tonic-clonic status epilepticus is a medical crisis. If terminated after roughly 30 minutes, it could result in lasting injury or even demise.

SUDEP is an uncommon condition when youthful or middle-aged epileptics pass away mysteriously. Less than 2% of mortality among epileptics is attributable to it. All epileptics run a risk of roughly one in 3,000 every year. For individuals who experience periodic, uncontrollable seizures and accept increased quantities of seizure medicines, the chance can be as high as one in 300.

The majority of women with epilepsy can get pregnant, but they should first talk to their doctors about their condition and the drugs they are taking. Many epilepsy patients use large dosages of medicine, which could expose unborn babies to possibly hazardous drug exposure. Some women may choose to take fewer drugs before becoming pregnant, especially if their seizures are under good control. Severe birth defects are uncommon in babies born to mothers who receive regular prenatal care and whose seizures are adequately treated.


Epilepsy is a chronic illness that has various effects on individuals. Many epileptics live typical, active lives. Seventy to eighty percent of epileptics can successfully supervise their seizures with medicine or surgical strategies.