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Seizure/Epilepsy Terms

What is a seizure?

by Jeanette Fisher

Seizures are like a sort of electrical storm in the brain, which temporarily short circuits. Different parts of the affected brain area result in different types of seizure.

Ask your medical professional for complete details.

Absence seizure (formerly Petite mal): a generalized seizure when a person's a person's consciousness gets interrupted. Often confused with "day dreaming," the patient misses a fragment of time. This makes it difficult for some to follow conversations.

Anti Epileptic Drugs (AEDs): medication used to control seizure disorders or Epilepsy.

Atonic: generalized seizure during which a person falls down because their body goes limp.

Aura: a form of Simple Partial seizure that acts a warning or indicates to the person that they are experiencing a seizure.

Automatism: the movements made by a person having a Complex Partial seizure such as wandering about, fumbling with clothes, babbling, or make nonsensical noises.

Complex Partial seizures affect a larger part of the brain. The person loses consciousness. awareness of their surroundings, and they may demonstrate automatism.

Electroencephalography (EEG): a test which records the patterns of electricity in the brain.

Epilepsy: medical condition, not an illness, used to describe people who have Epileptic seizures which affect consciousness and/or motor activity.

Frontal lobe seizures can make a person jerk an arm, leg or head, and their eyes may turn to one side.

Generalized seizures occur when a person's entire brain is affected and the person loses consciousness. Tonic-Clonic, Tonic, Atonic, Myoclonic and Absence are different types of Generalized seizures.

Grand Mal or Tonic-Clonic seizures: generalized seizure where a person's body becomes rigid and they fall down. The person may then make a high pitched cry. Erratic breathing causes pale faces and blue lips or mouth. Saliva may foam from the mouth. They may make jerking movements, strange grunt-like sounds, bite their tongue, and lose bladder or bowel control. After the seizure the person is confused and sleepy. They may also have a headache and feel nauseous.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): a test using a machine with a powerful magnet to look for  brain abnormalities.

Myoclonic: a generalized seizure causing sudden muscle jerks.

Occipital seizures: causes a person to see flashing lights in one half of their field of vision.

Parietal lobe seizures can make a person feel tingling down one side of their body.

Partial seizures, Simple, Complex, and Secondary Generalized seizures affect only one part of the brain. Simple Partial seizures affect a small part of the brain and cause no loss of consciousness. Temporal lobe seizures can make a person feel intense fear, memory flashbacks, and strange metallic tastes or smells. Secondary Generalized seizures begin in one part of the brain and then spread across the whole brain leading to unconsciousness.

Status epilepticus (Status) : one seizure or a cluster of seizures that last longer than 30 minutes. The person doesn't regain consciousness and requires medical treatment.



Copyright © 2004 to present Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

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