Information on Epilepsy

Info and FAQ

WHAT IS EPILEPSY?

A seizure occurs when there is a sudden burst of brain activity . Seizures can appear differently, ranging from blank stares to uncontrolled body movements. Awareness may or may not be affected, and seizures can affect one or both sides of the body. Furthermore, epilepsy is a brain disease that causes unprovoked, repeated seizure. There are many different causes and there are different kinds of seizures. Epilepsy can affect people of all ages.  


WHAT CAUSES EPILEPSY?

  • head injuries
  • complications with other/different
  • neurological (brain) disorders
  • brain infections
  • trauma during birth
  • strokes


Majority of cases of people with Epilepsy do not know the cause (70%)


WHAT IS A SEIZURE?

  • Sudden electrical disturbance along communication pathways in the brain
  • Neurons (brain cells) are the message communicators to other parts of the body and when the disturbance happens, they speed up causing a mixed up message to be sent down from the brain   
  • The physical symptoms we see are the mixed messages the brain has sent
  • This can happen in one area of the brain (localized) or many areas (generalized)


SEIZURE/POST SEIZURE SAFETY

  • Stay Calm
  • Remove Physical Items
  • Time the Seizure
  • Recovery Position while on ground
  • Move Dangerous Objects
  • Put something soft under head to prevent further injury
  • Do not restrain individual
  • Call 911 if long lasting or injury during seizure
  • Stay to reassure person after, make sure they are aware and feeeling well
  • Do not give food or drinks right after seizure (can cause choking)
  • Watch for re-occurring seizure after first has happened and give them time


  TYPES OF SEIZURES


 1. Simple Partial Seizure

  • Aware and alert of surroundings but person cannot control symptoms
  • Jerking in one area of the body (arm, leg or other)
  • Unusual sensory experience (smells, sounds and sights that are not actually there)
  • Sudden overwhelming emotional feeling (joy or fear)
  • Upset stomach or flushing of skin (rosy cheeks)
  • Some people refer to as an aura (an unusual sensation, feeling or movement)


2. Complex Partial Seizure

  • Altered awareness or dream-like state
  • Daze and confused physical appearance
  • Often begins with an aura (an unusual sensation, feeling or movement)
  • Involves odd movements like chewing motions, lip smacking, picking motions or pulling at clothing
  • Followed by confusion and disoriented feeling


3. Generalized Absence

  • Typically less in duration
  • A sudden blank stare (looks like day dreaming), rapid blinking or eyes rolling upwards
  • Impaired awareness to surroundings
  • Alertness regained very quickly after seizure


4. Generalized Tonic Clonic

  • Typically lasts 1 to 3 minutes, could be longer and may need professional medical attention
  • Loss of consciousness and usually falling to ground
  • Convulsions (stiffening or jerking)

    May also include:

  • Loss of urinary or bowel control
  • Shallow breathing
  • Bluish or grey skin colour