The occurrence of convulsions and seizures in a person is unnerving and needs immediate attention. Convulsions and seizures are characterized as convulsive disorder.
Convulsions are often confused with seizures, and people most often use these two terms interchangeably. But remember that they are two different things. A seizure occurs due to abnormal activity in the brain, and the common symptoms include vision problems, emotional changes, sensation of tingling, among others. It is triggered by a seizure, and is caused by uncontrolled spasms in the muscles. The muscle movement is hugely affected.
What are They?
A convulsion is rapid, repeated and uncontrolled shaking of the body muscles that leads to a jerky motion of the whole body. They are characterized by rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles, and subsequently the whole body. They last for around 30 seconds, but in serious cases they can last for two minutes or more.
The general symptoms are loss of muscle control resulting in loss of balance, clenching of teeth, grunting and violent behavior, change in eye movements, speech problems, among others. Though this is not harmful, nevertheless, if a person loses his consciousness in between the seizures, medical help should be sought immediately. The warning signs are unexplained nervousness and anxiety in the person, nausea, and vision problems.
What Causes Them?
We need to know that there are plenty of factors that can lead to convulsions in a person. A seizure is the chief factor that triggers this condition. A seizure generally occurs due to reasons like:
- Genetics and heredity could be a reason behind persistent occurrence of seizures.
- Strokes and heart attacks can lead to seizures.
- Dementia, which is a brain disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, can also cause seizures.
- Diseases like meningitis and AIDS could also be the possible reasons for seizures and convulsions.
- Prenatal injury in mothers, and other development disorders can lead to this disorder in children.
Convulsions as mentioned earlier, are triggered by seizures. But they can also occur on their own, and factors like age also play a role in triggering this behavior in a person. This is because with age, the brain cells degenerate, and this leads to abnormal functioning of the brain. High brain fever, brain trauma, injury and kidney disorders, contribute to convulsions of the brain. Drug abuse could also be an underlying cause.
What Should be Done?
The sight of a seizure is very unsettling and panicking. Though the seizure lasts for a few minutes only, certain steps are expected from the people near the person. As there is a chance of a fall, proper precautions like preventing the person from falling, assumes significance. Also, the head of the person should be cushioned and his clothing should be loosened. If it lasts for a long time, seek medical help immediately.
Maintain your own cool and do not shout, the person who is experiencing the convulsion is also not aware of what is happening to him/her, and the seizure is beyond the person’s control. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth during the convulsion. Medical help should be sought if the frequency of convulsions increases, and if the affected person is a pregnant woman, or a child, or has a history of other diseases like strokes.
How Can They Be Prevented?
All the prescribed medications should be taken, this helps in decreasing the frequency of convulsions. Proper rest is also very necessary and benefits in a huge way to prevent seizures. A proper diet, rich in nutrients, also plays an important role in controlling seizures and convulsions. But the prevention is in having the medicines on time, and taking proper care of oneself. Following a healthy lifestyle which excludes smoking and drinking is also essential.
The occurrence of convulsions often leads to depression in the person. Support of family and friends thus assumes huge significance. The person himself should be strong enough and should concentrate on living a happy life, rather than worrying about the seizures.