Seizures are a type of brain disorder characterized by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The brain communicates with the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles via electrical impulses. When electrical activity occurs abnormally, a person can have a seizure. Epilepsy is the term used to describe the condition of having recurrent unprovoked seizures.
Approximately two percent of the adult population will experience a seizure at some point. In some cases, a person only experiences one episode in their lifetime. If a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are said to have a seizure disorder.
Causes of Seizures
In some cases, the cause of seizure is unknown. There are, however, many known causes of seizures and epilepsy. When the onset of seizures occur prior to the age of two, high fever or metabolic disorders are common causes of seizures. When seizures begin in adults, the cause is often structural damage to the brain, which can be caused by brain injury, tumor, or stroke. In cases of “provoked seizures,” severe emotional or physical stress, certain drugs, sleep deprivation, injury, low levels of oxygen in the blood, and low blood sugar can bring on a seizure. In more rare cases of “reflex epilepsy,” seizures can be triggered by flashing lights, repetitive sounds, video games, or even touch in certain areas of the body.
Seizures and epilepsy can sometimes occur as a result of exposure to toxins (such as carbon monoxide, lead, chloroquine, and more), inadequate oxygen supply to the brain (see anoxia and hypoxia), traumatic brain injury, stroke, defective drugs, birth injury, and medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has developed a seizure disorder due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may have the right to seek compensation for your losses and suffering, including medical expenses, reduced earning potential, loss of income, and more.
Symptoms of Seizures and Epilepsy
Before a seizure: In many cases, patients experience an unusual sensation of smell, taste, or vision just before a seizure. Some patients experience aura, or an intense feeling that a seizure is coming.
During a seizure: The average seizure lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. During this time, a patient may lose consciousness and experience muscle spasms that shake the body abnormally. In some cases, bladder or bowel control is lost.
After seizure: After effects, called the “postictal state,” can occur following a seizure. These symptoms of seizure can include confusion, headache, muscle aches, abnormal sensations, and extreme fatigue.
The symptoms of seizure often depend on the areas of the brain affected and the underlying cause or epileptic condition.
Types of Seizures
There are several types of seizures, including:
- Simple partial seizures
- Jacksonian seizures
- Complex partial seizures
- Epilepsia partialis continua
- Tonic-clonic seizures (also called grand mal seizures)
- Petit mal seizures
- Atonic seizures
- Myoclonic seizures
- Status epilepticus
Seizure and Epilepsy Diagnosis
A diagnosis of epilepsy or seizure disorder is often made by taking a patient’s medical history and reviewing the reports from those who witnessed the patient’s episode. Several tests can be used to diagnosis and monitor a patient with seizures or epilepsy including electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography (ECG), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spinal tap, and blood tests. Doctors may also try to rule out a fainting condition, caused by cardiovascular disturbances, not disruptions in the brain’s electrical activity.
In many cases, anticonvulsants can successfully prevent seizures in patients with seizure disorders or epilepsy. There are several types of anticonvulsant medications, some more effective than others depending on the patient and their condition. Many anticonvulsant medications also cause undesirable side effects. Therefore, it is important for a doctor and patient to find a safe and effective treatment best suited to the individual patient.
In some cases, medications are not effective. Brain surgery may be an option in these cases.
Seizures and Epilepsy and Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one has developed a seizure disorder or epilepsy as a result of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your past and future losses and suffering.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact our qualified attorneys who can evaluate your case for free and determine the best way to help you receive the compensation you deserve