What is a seizure?

A seizure, or convulsion, can be a sudden, violent, uncontrollable contraction of a group of muscles caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A seizure can also be more subtle, consisting of only a brief “loss of contact” in which the patient seems to be daydreaming, or even a repetitive, uncontrollable body movement. Seizures can be treated with anticonvulsant medications or surgery.

What causes seizures?

The most frequent causes of seizures include epilepsy, injury or trauma to the head, infection, the presence of a brain tumor (30-40% of patients with a brain tumor will experience a seizure), high fever, heatstroke or, when blood sugar is too low, diabetes. There may be other causes of seizures as well, including other diseases and medications. Furthermore, the cause may vary based on age and gender of the affected person, as well as on the specific characteristics of the symptom such as quality, time course, aggravating factors, relieving factors and associated complaints. It is important to see a doctor for a thorough evaluation to determine a seizure’s cause and, thus, appropriate treatment.

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