Nervous system is a very sensitive portion of the human body. A minor fluctuation in the function of this system can cause severe symptoms.
There are several types of nervous systems where central nervous system is the most important among all. Brain and spinal cord are the two main parts of central nervous system. There are special chemicals in brain that control the activity of the brain and send signals to the whole body. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters. Due to some reasons, these neurotransmitters may be secreted in excess within the brain which results in the hyperactivity of the brain. This process may cause the whole body to jerk violently and is called a "seizure".
Types of seizures
Seizures are divided into 2 basic categories:
- Complete/generalized seizures: This type of seizure involves the whole body; not a specific part of the body. The patient may lose consciousness for a while after an episode of seizure.
- Partial seizures: This type of seizure usually involves a particular part of the body like eye, arm, leg, or even a particular muscle. The consciousness may or may not be impaired.
Is this really a seizure? Signs and symptoms of seizures
Seizures occur differently in different persons. Most of the patients state that they have a strange kind of feeling before the seizure which is called "aura". In other words, a patient realizes beforehand that something bad is going to happen. Signs and symptoms of seizure vary from person to person. However, some commonly experienced symptoms of seizure include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Headache - can be similar to that of migraine
- Nausea - a patient may also describe it as something coming towards his mouth from stomach
- Pin and needle sensation anywhere on the body - tingling, numbness, etc.
- Double vision, blurred vision
- Loss of sense of smell, hearing, or taste
The list of symptoms extends to such an extent that it can include each and every part of the body.
What causes seizures?
Not only disturbance in neurotransmitters, but there are several causes that may cause your body to seize. Some the most common causes include:
- A rapid increase in body temperature - fever
- Head or brain injury
- Sudden fall in the blood sugar level - hypoglycemia
- Drug abuse or abrupt withdrawal of a drug, especially antidepressants and tranquilizers
- Electrolyte imbalance - sodium, magnesium, potassium, copper, etc.
- Central nervous system infection - meningitis, cerebral malaria, encephalitis
- Parasitic infections like toxoplasmosis are also known to cause seizures.
Family history is important
Although it is difficult to find the cause of seizure in some cases, family history is very important in making the correct diagnosis. People who have several episodes of seizures are usually found to have a family history of seizures or epilepsy. People who have a family history of seizures are more likely to develop seizures at any stage of their life.
Treatment and prevention
The treatment of seizure is totally dependent on the cause. Correcting the underlying cause, fever most commonly, corrects seizures itself. The active episode of seizure is treated by giving intravenous benzodiazepine. Future seizures can be prevented by keeping your body hydrated and keeping the body electrolytes in balance.
Keep in mind: First episode of seizure in life can be ignored because it is of no clinical significance. No doubt that you should visit your doctor right after the first attack. However, if the second attack occurs, your doctor will advise complete body tests.
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