Your brain controls how your body moves by sending out small electrical signals from your nerves to your muscles. A seizure, or convulsion, is a sudden charge of electrical activity in your brain. It occurs when irregular signals from your brain change the way your body functions.
What does a seizure look like? Seizure symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may have minor hand shaking while remaining conscious, while others may lose consciousness as their entire bodies convulse.
Signs of a seizure may include:
- A blackout, followed by confusion
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms
- Drooling or frothing at the mouth
- Experiencing a strange taste in your mouth
- Clenching teeth
- Sudden, rapid eye movements
- Making unusual noises, such as grunting
- Losing bladder or bowel control
- Sudden mood changes
Are there different kinds of seizures? Seizures are classified into epileptic, non-epileptic or provoked seizures.
Epilepsy is a nervous system disorder that can cause seizures. However, just because you have one seizure does not mean you have epilepsy. A minimum of two unprovoked seizures are usually the conditions for an epilepsy diagnosis.
Non-epileptic seizures may be caused by psychological issues or stress and are not accompanied by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Provoked seizures are single seizures that may occur as the result of trauma, low blood pressure, low blood sodium, high fever, or alcohol or drug abuse.
What is a seizure disorder? Seizure disorders are any condition in which seizures may be a symptom. A seizure can be a symptom of another health problem, such as:
- A rapidly increasing fever (called a fever seizure).
- An extremely low blood sugar level as in diabetes.
- Damage to your brain from a stroke, brain surgery, or a head injury.
- Problems present since birth.
- Withdrawal from alcohol, prescription medicine, or illegal drugs.
- Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.
- A brain tumor or structural defect in the brain, such as an aneurysm.
- Parasitic infections, such as tapeworm or toxoplasmosis.
How can you prevent a seizure? If you experience seizures, you can prevent or reduce your seizure risk by avoiding triggers, such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Flashing lights
- Video games
- Use of heroin or cocaine
- Abrupt withdrawal from medications or alcohol
If you think you're at risk for seizures or have experienced one, talk to your doctor