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Seizure – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, February 22, 2018 by

Seizures are the result of sudden and abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Although used interchangeably with “convulsions”, they differ slightly from seizures in that convulsions are erratic muscle movements that can occur even without seizures.

There are two main types of seizures:

  • Focal seizures — Also known as partial seizures or Jacksonian seizures, this happens when the nerve cells in one side of the brain misfire. This kind of seizure is what occurs in the majority of people with epilepsy, a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures.
  • Generalized seizures — These affect both sides of the brain and the body. Due to the variety of sensory and physical symptoms associated with generalized seizures, there can be several other seizure classifications under its name. One such type are grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures, which are the most noticeable of generalized seizures. A grand mal seizure can cause the affected person to shake, lose consciousness, and void their bladder or bowels. On the other side of the spectrum are absence or petit mal seizures, wherein an individual appears disconnected and unresponsive. Petit mal seizures only last a few seconds.

Seizures can also come about as the result of an injury or illness. These types of seizures are known as non-epileptic seizures, and usually disappear after the condition that caused it in the first place is treated. Of the health conditions that can lead to seizures, they include:

  • Choking
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Fever
  • Head trauma
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke

Known side effects of seizures

Although seizures are usually unpredictable, there are a few warning signs that a seizure is about to happen, namely:

  • Changes in vision
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of detachment or out-of-body sensations
  • Feelings of numbness or electricity in certain parts of the body
  • Headaches
  • Jerky arm or leg movements
  • Unexpected loss of control over the bladder or bowel
  • Unexplained confusion or sleepiness

According to, a seizure in progress will usually exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abrupt mood changes
  • A strange taste in the mouth
  • Biting of tongue from teeth clenching
  • Changes in skin color
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth
  • Falling
  • Loss of consciousness followed by confusion
  • Making unusual noises like grunting
  • Sudden and rapid eye movements
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms

A seizure can last as quickly as 30 seconds and as long as 15 minutes. After a seizure occurs, the affected person can either recover immediately or take a few hours to return to normal. The post-seizure phase has its own symptoms, which are:

  • Confusion
  • Feelings of lightheadedness
  • General weakness in one side or part of the body
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Physical injuries such as bruises or cuts
  • Sleepiness

Body systems harmed by seizures

Depending on their severity and frequency, seizures can give way to serious, long-term health complications. The most dangerous of these are changes to the brain. Seizures affect areas of the brain that, when damaged over time because of seizures, can result in a person undergoing drastic cognitive and behavioral changes. These can range from extreme shifts in personality to a decrease or increase in sex drive to memory loss. A seizure that lasts more than five minutes can bring about brain damage, and possibly death.

Seizures also increase the risk of various types of injuries as well. For instance, a seizure wherein vomiting happens can result in aspiration due to the vomit entering the lungs. Broken bones are another potential hazard, particularly a fractured skull, which can happen when a person falls over during a seizure.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent seizures

A healthy diet can help maintain overall wellness and reduce the occurrence of seizures, according to This entails consuming:

  • Meat and seafood — A diet that’s high in protein but low in carbohydrates is believed to lessen the frequency of seizures. Though rather than eating all sorts of fish or meat, it’s best to focus on high-quality protein such as lean meat, poultry, and fatty fish.
  • Fruits and vegetables — In general, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and make the body less susceptible to ailments such as seizures. The rule of thumb is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in an array of deep colors, which means ingesting a lot of berries and leafy greens.
  • Oils: Plant-based oils like olive and coconut are thought to enhance brain function, in turn improving the symptoms of seizures.

Treatments, management plans for seizures

Remedying seizures depends largely on what caused them on the first place. Seizures that are caused by epilepsy will usually require the patient to take medications or undergo surgery to fix the abnormalities in their brain. In some cases, the patient will be placed on a special diet to help minimize symptoms. As for other types of seizures, the best thing to do when an episode takes place is to remain with the affected person and call 911 if they:

  • Don’t wake up after the seizure has passed
  • Experience recurrent seizures
  • Are pregnant
  • Are someone who has never had a seizure before

A person who is having a seizure should be positioned on their side to prevent saliva or vomit from leaking into their windpipe. They should never be held down or have anything placed inside their mouth.

Seizures aren’t preventable in numerous instances, but adhering to a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce the risk. This calls for engaging in regular exercise, practicing stress-reducing techniques, and staying away from illegal drugs.

Where to learn more


Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity. While some seizures often go unnoticed due to lack of symptoms, other episodes are distinguished by jerky movements, loss of consciousness, and unusual noises, to name a few. Recurring and/or severe seizures can result in brain damage over time or physical injuries. Although unpredictable and difficult to prevent, managing seizures can be made easier through exercise, a good diet, and avoiding illegal drugs.

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