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What Causes Seizures?

With symptoms like shaking, confusion, and loss of consciousness, having a seizure is a frightening experience. If you’ve had a seizure, a neurologist will conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause of your seizures and start a course of treatment to keep subsequent episodes to a minimum.

What Is a Seizure?

A seizure is characterized by sudden and uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. During a seizure you’ll experience disruptions in your normal behavior, movement, emotional feelings, and consciousness.

There are several different kinds of seizures. They are categorized by the location in the brain where they start and the mechanism that sets them off. Most seizures occur for as little as 30 seconds up to two minutes. A seizure lasting longer than five minutes requires immediate medical attention.

Seizures can start after a head injury, a stroke, or an illness like meningitis. Sometimes seizures occur for unknown reasons.

What Causes Seizures?

The brain is responsible for creating, sending, and receiving electrical impulses. This electrical activity is the way the brain communicates with nerve cells throughout the body. A seizure occurs any time this complex communication route is disrupted. Oftentimes, seizures are caused by epilepsy, but there are other causes such as:

What Are the Symptoms?

Depending on the type of seizure, symptoms can vary from minor to serious. Typical warning signs and symptoms include:

Different types of seizures originate in specific areas of the brain. Common types of seizures include:

Focal – Caused by irregular electrical activity in one area of the brain, these seizures occur with and without loss of consciousness. Some make you to stare into space while others cause uncontrolled jerking movements and feelings of tingling, dizziness, or seeing flashing lights.

Generalized – These seizures occur in all areas of the brain and cause many different symptoms such as uncontrolled eye blinking, lip smacking, stiff muscles, total loss of body control, twitching of arms and legs, jerking of head and neck, loss of consciousness, biting your tongue, and more.

What Are the Treatment Options?

If you’ve had one seizure, your neurologist may want to monitor you before beginning treatment because many people only have one seizure in their life. If you’ve had several seizures, your neurologist will find the best treatment option for you with an emphasis on reducing bothersome side effects. These treatments include:

Anti-seizure medication – Your neurologist will take note of your age, frequency of seizures, types of seizures, and medical history before prescribing medication. You may have to try several different kinds and dosage levels before finding relief.

Surgery – Surgery is effective for those whose seizures always originate in the same area of the brain. The surgeon removes the affected section of brain tissue.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation – A neurologist implants a device in your chest that stimulates the vagus nerve to send signals to the brain to stop seizures.

If you’ve had a seizure, make an appointment today with the board-certified neurologists at Complete Neurological Care in NYC, Long Island, and New Jersey. Our highly skilled team treats epilepsy in addition to all neurological disorders.

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