Seizures occur due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The following HealthHearty article provides information on the symptoms of different types of seizures.
Neurons are specialized cells that are responsible for transmitting electrical and chemical signals to the different parts of the brain. A seizure is characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. During an episode, the neurons in the brain malfunction by firing when they are not supposed to and vice versa. Not only adults, even infants and children may suffer from seizures.
Seizures are categorized into generalized (abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain) and partial/focal (abnormal electrical activity in a particular part of the brain) seizures. The former is again divided into sub types, v.i.z, grand mal, absence, myoclonic, clonic, tonic and atonic.
- The grand mal seizure (also known as generalized tonic-clonic) is the most common type. Loss of consciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity are the common symptoms of this condition. There are other symptoms as well, which not all people suffer from. These include fatigue, aura, screaming, loss of bowel movement, confusion, and severe headache.
- Symptoms of absence seizures include momentary loss of consciousness, which may occur several times a day.
- In case of a myoclonic seizure, the affected person exhibits sporadic jerks, usually on both sides of the body. These jerks, may also be interpreted by some patients, as short electrical shocks. In extreme cases, the affected person might involuntarily throw or drop objects.
- Repetitive by nature, the clonic seizure is characterized by rhythmic jerking movements which affect both sides of the body at the same time.
- Muscle stiffening is observed in a tonic seizure.
- The atonic seizure may result in loss of muscle tone. This in turn, may result in falls, as the arms and legs are mainly affected.
Partial seizure is also divided into several sub types; simple, complex, and secondary generalized seizure.
The first subtype can affect movement (simple motor), emotion (simple psychological), and sensations (simple sensory) in an unusual manner. When it affects the movement, the affected person might undergo jerking, muscle rigidity, spasms, and head-turning. In case of a sensory seizure, the five senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) are affected. The affected person might therefore experience odd sensations (unusual sounds, unpleasant taste, strange smells, distorted vision). In case of psychological seizures, the affected person might have a sudden feeling of fear, anger, joy, etc.
- The complex partial type involves the loss of awareness. Its symptoms generally include lip smacking, chewing, restless moving, walking, etc. All these movements happen to be repetitive, involuntarily but coordinated.
- Secondary generalized seizures mark the transition of a partial seizure into a grand mal seizure. So, here the symptoms will occur and may even change according to the type of the condition.
As these conditions are related to the brain, there must be no delay or hesitation in getting medical help. Diagnosing the underlying causes, and treating then promptly, can not only help improve the condition but also prevent any further complications.