If it happens only one time, a seizure is an isolated incident and will stop once the underlying causes have been removed. However, if seizures continue, and there’s no obvious provoking factor, the cause may be epilepsy.
1 AnswerA seizure is considered a medical emergency, and a medical doctor should evaluate anyone who suffers a seizure. The doctor will determine what caused the seizure to occur, and if and when the athlete can return to play. Those diagnosed with epilepsy should not return to play.
(This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Complications of epilepsy include the following:
- Injury: If an individual falls during a seizure, they may sustain a head injury. Drowning is a risk if the individual has a seizure while swimming or bathing.
Loss of consciousness and awareness: A seizure that causes either loss of awareness or control can be dangerous if the individual is driving a car or operating other equipment. Medications used to control seizures also can cause drowsiness, which may affect the individual's driving ability. Many states have licensing restrictions related to the individual's ability to control seizures.
Pregnancy: Seizures during pregnancy pose dangers to both mother and baby and certain anti-epileptic medications increase the risk of birth defects. A doctor will advise an individual with epilepsy who is considering becoming pregnant. Most women with epilepsy can become pregnant and have a healthy baby, but many need to adjust their medications and be carefully monitored throughout pregnancy.
Life-threatening complications: Life-threatening complications from epilepsy are uncommon, but do occur. Individuals who have severe, prolonged, or continuous seizures (status epilepticus) are at increased risk of permanent brain damage and death. Individuals with epilepsy, particularly those with poorly controlled epilepsy, also have a small risk of a condition called sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). The risk of SUDEP increases if the individual is having seizures at an early age, has frequent seizures that involve more than one area of the brain, or continues to have seizures despite treatment with medications.
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1 AnswerThe ketogenic diet is a special kind of diet for patients with epilepsy. It may be recommended by your healthcare provider as an adjunct to seizure control medications if those medications alone are not working to prevent seizures in your child. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. This kind of diet is difficult to follow and is often started in a hospital setting. A nutritionist usually follows the patient very closely and offers suggestions for meals and snacks. There are benefits to taking on this difficult diet, and it has been shown in case studies to cut seizure recurrences in 50% of patients and to eliminate seizures in 10 to 15% of patients.
1 AnswerBenign focal childhood epilepsy is a term for a collection of idiopathic seizure syndromes that occur in developmentally and neurologically normal children. What this means is that these are seizures of unknown cause in children without developmental or neurological abnormalities. These seizures do not cause significant issues or complications and will disappear prior to adulthood. These are different than seizures of symptomatic epilepsy, which is epilepsy caused by neurological or developmental disease.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth or between the teeth.
- People having seizures rarely bite their tongues or cheeks with enough force to cause significant bleeding; however, some blood may be present.
1 AnswerCall 9-1-1 or the local emergency number for a person having a seizure if:
- The seizure lasts more than five minutes
- The person has multiple seizures with no signs of slowing down
- The person appears to be injured or fails to regain consciousness after the seizure
- The cause of the seizure is unknown
- The person is pregnant
- The person has diabetes
- The person is a young child or an infant and experienced a febrile seizure brought on by a high fever
- The seizure takes place in water
- The person is elderly and could have suffered a stroke
- This is the person’s first seizure
1 AnswerBetty Long, RN, MHA, Nursing, answered
We were advocating on behalf of a daughter of an elderly woman who was experiencing left sided weakness after having seizures following a surgery to revise her brain shunt. The daughter immediately assumed that her mom had suffered an intraoperative stroke. Tests, however, continued to show no stroke and doctors introduced the possibility that the patient was experiencing Todd's Paralysis. Not that many of us had heard of it or knew what it was
As it turned out, Todd's Paralysis is focal weakness in a part of the body after a seizure. This weakness typically affects appendages and is localized to either the left or right side of the body. It usually subsides completely within 48 hours. Todd's paresis may also affect speech, eye position (gaze), or vision. Treatment is typically supportive and aimed at reducing or eliminating the seizure activity through medication.