No one likes a repetitive schedule and a monotonous life, therefore, humans’ love for spontaneity is easy to understand; however, we only desire randomness for positive events. Unfortunately, randomness is also the very nature of disorders. Among all the disorders and medical emergencies, a seizure is something that almost always happens without any notice. Although there are many causes of seizures, some are more common than others.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is referred to as abnormal electrical disturbances in the brain that are uncontrolled. It occurs due to the malfunction of the brain’s electrical system. Seizures are often quick, and most of the time go unnoticed; however, other times they can be serious. They can last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, and any seizure is considered a medical emergency if it lasts over five minutes. Moreover, there are different types of seizures that are categorized based on their spread and origin in the brain. Fortunately, there are medications available that can help patients with seizures. There are six types of seizures:
- Absence seizures: These are usually not a serious concern, and these occur in children between the age of four and six. During an absence seizure, which usually lasts for 10 seconds, a child may stare into space while blinking their eyes or smacking their lips. Interestingly, it can happen anywhere from 10 to 100 times in a day.
- Tonic seizures: In tonic seizures, muscles in the back, arms, and legs suddenly become stiff.
- Atonic seizures: Atonic seizures cause the individual to lose control of the muscles, resulting in a sudden collapse. Befittingly, it is also called drop seizures.
- Clonic seizures: Experiencing jerking movements of the neck, face, and arm muscles are known as clinic seizures.
- Myoclonic seizures: In a myoclonic seizure, a person can be observed twitching their arms and legs.
- Tonic-clonic seizures: Whenever a seizure is portrayed in movies or shows, it is a tonic-clonic seizure. In addition to becoming unconscious, a person experiences stiffness and shaking of the body. Also, control over the bladder is lost.
Most Common Cause of Seizures
1. Fever and Illness
Although not categorized as a type of seizure, a person, usually children, may experience a febrile seizure if their body temperature exceeds 38°c. Fortunately, it doesn’t have any lasting effects, and no medical treatment is required in most cases. In addition to fever, some diseases such as meningitis are also known to cause seizures.
2. Sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep is another cause of seizures. This does not come as a surprise because sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of disorders, and seizures are one of them. According to experts, as the brain is unable to recover without sleep, it causes abrupt electrical signals, resulting in seizures.
3. Visual Stimulants
Visual stimulants such as quickly changing tv channels, flashing of bright lights, and quickly changing patterns can cause seizures, similar to epilepsy. The mentioned visual stimulants can cause cells to synchronize in the visual cortex. Now, if neurons are fired at a high level, it can result in a seizure, as these neurons involve other neurons in a synchronized discharge.
4. Low blood sugar and sodium
As glucose is required by the brain to function, a drop in blood sugar can result in seizure activity in the brain. Similarly, when the levels of sodium are dropped in the body, it can result in seizures.
5. Brain Tumor
According to the statistics, more than half of the patients that have developed brain tumors are likely to experience a seizure. Usually, these tumors cause headaches and gradually surface as seizures.
A disheartening reality about seizures is that anyone can develop them at any time. Still, there are certain factors that make a person more susceptible to seizures than others.
Like many other conditions that can be traced back to a person’s family history, seizures are also hugely dependent on genes, therefore, a person with a family history of seizures is more likely to experience seizures. Moreover, the risk of recurrence of seizures increases by 30% in such individuals.
Although seizures can occur at any age, it is mostly observed in children and people over 60. This is likely due to changes in the brain during those phases of life.
3. Head injuries
Seizures can surface well after 5 months of a head injury. It is one of the most ignored factors for a seizure because people usually associate spontaneous events with seizures.
When the flow of blood is cut off from the brain it results in a stroke. While some strokes are temporary, others may cause permanent damage to the brain, increasing the risk of seizures. Moreover, if a person is suffering from cardiovascular conditions, they are at a greater risk of a stroke.
Exclusive to older individuals, dementia can significantly increase the chances of a person experiencing a seizure. Interestingly, this was stated by Alois Alzheimer, himself, a German physician who discovered the Alzheimer’s disease.