Known Causes of Seizures

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Contrary to popular belief, not all seizures cause convulsions. Before we discuss the known causes of seizures, it would be helpful to learn more about it.

What is a seizure?

Seizures happen when there is an abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is typically a symptom of a brain problem. There are two main categories of seizures; focal seizures which is also known as partial seizures where the electrical activity happen in just one part of the brain and generalized seizures where there is abnormal activity on both sides of the brain.

Most seizures do not cause lasting harm on the individual that experiences it. It can last for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. However, if the seizure or episode last for more than 5 minutes, or it is repetitive and the person does not wake up in between seizures, it is advisable to call for paramedics immediately to deal with the situation.

Known Causes of Seizures

Although recurring seizures may be a symptom of epilepsy, it does not necessarily mean that you have it if you experience seizures. Other symptoms of epilepsy are strange sensations and emotions, violent muscle spasms and loss of consciousness.

The two most common causes of seizures are head trauma and genetic factors.

Head Trauma

Head trauma is one of the major causes of seizures. The onset of the seizures may not be immediate after a head trauma; sometimes several years will pass after a head injury or trauma to the head before seizures develop. To what extent the head trauma must be to develop seizures is still unknown. Research however shows that a head injury with open penetrating wound tend to have a higher risk of the individual developing seizures in the future.

Genetic Factors

Like many ailments and illnesses, genetics plays a big part in the development seizures in an individual. If there is a history of seizures or epilepsy in your family especially a first-degree relative, your risk of having or developing seizures is higher than the average person. Studies are still ongoing to search for the specific genes that may have a direct link to a specific type of seizure or epileptic condition.

Other Known Causes of Seizures

  • An individual may have seizures due to an underlying condition that affect the normal functions of the brain. Conditions like a brain tumor, dementia, infections and very high fever. In most cases, once the underlying condition is treated, the seizures will also stop occurring. Kidney or liver failure has also been associated with seizures.
  • Intake of certain drugs or medications and alcohol consumptions.
  • Abnormal levels of sodium and sugar in the blood.
  • Extreme stress, lack of sleep and rapid flashing lights are known triggers of seizures episodes.

References:

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003200.htm

https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/epilepsy-causes

https://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/causes/index.cfm