Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms
Seizures can be sporadic and unpredictable, making it hard to determine when one might occur. A person may experience an aura, such as a visual hallucination or strange smell at the beginning of the seizure. Other warning signs for a seizure include staring spells, loss of awareness and body stiffness or tingling. Whatever your specific seizure experience, it's important to keep track and discuss all your epilepsy symptoms with your doctor or neurologist.

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    A Neurology, answered on behalf of

    Epileptic seizures are usually brief events lasting seconds to a few minutes. They can take many forms, depending on the area of the brain involved. They can mimic virtually any behavior or experience that occurs normally, and many that do not. Focal seizures involve parts of the brain on just one side that are responsible for movement, sensation, psychic experiences and bodily functions. Examples include motor movements such as jerking of one hand or half the face; sensory experiences such as visual images of flashing lights, dizziness, smells or tastes; psychic experiences such as distorted memories, hallucinations and mood alterations (eg., depression, anger, fear); and body discomfort usually localized to the stomach, chest or head. When the epileptic activity spreads to the other side of the brain, conscious control is lost, which can cause involuntary, often inappropriate and bizarre behaviors that are not remembered after the seizure is over. Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain and range from brief loss of consciousness (absences, petit mal seizures) to the classical convulsions that begins with loss of consciousness and stiffening of both arms and legs, often accompanied by a cry and falling, followed by severe jerking on both sides of the body and then relaxation and unresponsiveness (generalized tonic-clonic convulsions, grand mal seizures). During these events, there may be loss of bladder and/or bowel control and tongue biting. Other generalized seizures may consist only of brief stiffening or brief jerks or sudden loss of tone with falling (drop attacks). Focal seizures can progress to generalized seizures. Focal seizures with sensory, psychic or bodily function experiences that progress to more severe behaviors are called auras, but they are actually epileptic seizures. Depending on the type of seizure and area of brain involved there can be focal disturbances or severe unresponsiveness after the seizure is over, lasting from a few minutes to many hours (the postictal state).

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    A person with epilepsy may experience something called an aura before the seizure occurs. An aura is an unusual sensation or feeling, such as a visual hallucination; strange sound, taste or smell; or an urgent need to get to safety.

    If the person recognizes the aura, he or she may have time to tell bystanders and sit down before the seizure occurs.
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    A , Family Medicine, answered
    Some people with seizure disorder experience symptoms that may lead a doctor to suspect a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Caused by problems in the brain's electrical activity, seizure disorder is one of several medical conditions mirroring the symptoms of schizophrenia. Some of these symptoms include:
    • smelling or tasting things that others can't smell or taste
    • confusion
    • sleepiness
    • feelings of unease
    • seeing things that are not real
    • speech disorders or lacking an ability to speak
    In order to make an accurate diagnosis, doctors will screen for seizure disorder by running multiple tests and getting the person's medical history. The Mayo Clinic reports that catatonic behavior can also be a symptom of seizure disorder. People displaying catatonic behavior will need to be screened to determine if they have catatonic schizophrenia or a seizure disorder.
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    There are different kinds of seizures, each with different symptoms. Seizures can happen unexpectedly and may include falling, injuries like biting the tongue or losing control of one's urine or stool. Some people who get generalized tonic clonic seizures (also called "grand mal") may lose consciousness and demonstrate stiffness and jerking movements with a period of confusion after the seizure event. Other types of seizures may be more subtle and hard to detect, with symptoms such as not responding and staring for a brief period of time, or shaking in one part of the body like the arm or face. If someone gets recurrent seizures, he or she may be able to identify warning signs before the seizure even occurs, such as unusual tastes, smells, sensations or even out-of-body experiences. Because the signs of a seizure can be variable, if you suspect someone is having a seizure, it is best to get help from a healthcare professional to keep that person safe and healthy.
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    Your child may have varying degrees of symptoms depending upon the type of seizure. The following are general symptoms of a seizure or warning signs that your child may be experiencing seizures. Symptoms or warning signs may include:

    •Staring
    •Jerking movements of the arms and legs
    •Stiffening of the body
    •Loss of consciousness
    •Breathing problems or breathing stops
    •Loss of bowel or bladder control
    •Falling suddenly for no apparent reason
    •Not responding to noise or words for brief periods
    •Appearing confused or in a haze
    •Nodding the head
    •Periods of rapid eye blinking and staring

    During the seizure, the child's lips may become bluish and breathing may not be normal. The movements are often followed by a period of sleep or disorientation.

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    There are other conditions that include seizures which may resemble epileptic seizures. Those include sleep apnea, panic attacks, hypoglycemia, abnormal heart rhythm and fainting.

    Alcoholics and drug addicts also can experience a seizure from substance abuse.

    A sizable number of infants and small children also experience febrile seizures as a result of a high fever, but they generally do not develop epilepsy.

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    A , Fitness, answered
    Having witnessed a loved-one with epilepsy have several Grand Mal seizures, the following are some symptoms: incoherent/slurred speech (from biting their tongue), nausea, dizziness, frequent urges to use the bathroom, headache, and loss of appetite. Her seizures were triggered by not taking her medication (a missed dosage), stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue. I hope this helps
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