Seizures are disturbances of electrical activity in the brain that occur spontaneously. This condition is generally characterized by uncontrolled body movements, which can even cause a loss of consciousness. Seizures can be a symptom of brain disease or other conditions that affect the brain.
There is a lot of information in the community that assumes that seizures are always marked by the body shaking uncontrollably. In fact, some types of seizures have symptoms that are difficult to recognize, such as a sudden blank stare.
The duration of the seizure is usually short, between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. If it lasts more than 2 minutes, the seizure is classified as an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
Causes of Seizures
Seizures are caused by disturbances in electrical activity, in some or all areas of the brain. These disorders can be triggered by disorders in the brain or other conditions that indirectly affect brain function, as explained below:
Disorders in the brain
Some disorders in the brain that cause seizures are:
- Brain tumor
- Infection of the lining of the brain ( meningitis )
- Brain infection (encephalitis)
- Congenital abnormalities of the brain
- Baby's head injury at birth
- Head injury
- Abnormalities of blood vessels in the brain
- Cerebral palsy or cerebral palsy
Conditions that affect the brain
While other conditions that can affect the brain and trigger seizures are:
- Heart disease
- High fever
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Electrolyte disturbances , such as hyponatremia
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- Drug abuse
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Abnormal blood sugar levels
- Accumulation of toxins in the body due to liver failure or kidney failure
- Animal stings or venomous animal bites
- Got electric shock
In addition, seizures can also be a symptom of a somatoform disorder , which is a type of psychological disorder.
Seizures are often marked by muscle contractions accompanied by jerking movements throughout the body. However, the actual symptoms of a seizure can vary, depending on the area of the brain that is affected and the severity.
Symptoms of seizures involving multiple areas of the brain include:
- Impaired sensation of sight, hearing, or smell
- Repetitive movements, such as rubbing your hands or walking in circles
- Jerking movements in one part of the body, such as an arm or leg
- Changes in mood or mood
- Difficulty speaking
- Dizziness or nausea
- pins and needles
While in seizures that affect all parts of the brain, common symptoms include:
- Stiff body followed by jerking movements throughout the body
- Jerking movements of the face, neck and hands
- Loss of muscle control so that it can make the sufferer suddenly fall
- Muscle stiffness, especially in the back and legs
- Blank stare in one direction
- Eyes blink rapidly
Apart from the symptoms above, there are a number of other symptoms that occur when someone has a seizure, namely:
- Momentary loss of consciousness
- Changes in behavior
- Foaming at the mouth or drooling
- The breath stops temporarily
Seizure symptoms usually only last for a few seconds to a few minutes. Before a seizure, sufferers often experience warning symptoms, namely anxiety, nausea, vertigo , and seeing a flash of light in the eye.
When to see a doctor
If you see someone having a seizure for more than 2 minutes, immediately take the person to the doctor or seek help at the nearest hospital emergency room. Examination and treatment also need to be done in patients with seizures who:
- Having a seizure for the first time
- Unconscious after having a seizure
- Have recurrent seizures
- Are pregnant, injured, or have diabetes
- Have a high fever
Diagnosis of Seizures
If the patient comes to the hospital in a state of convulsions, the doctor will treat it first. Next, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo further tests, such as:
- Blood tests , to detect infections and electrolyte disturbances
- Scans with MRI and CT scans, to detect bleeding, tumors, or other disorders in the brain
- Lumbar puncture test , to detect infection in the brain by examining a sample of brain fluid
- Electroencephalography (EEG) , to see electrical activity in the brain by attaching electrodes to the scalp
Handling of patients with seizures can be divided into first aid and treatment at the hospital. The following is an explanation of each seizure treatment:
First aid for seizure sufferers
First aid in patients with seizures needs to be done to prevent injury. Efforts to be made in this condition include:
- Lay the patient in a safe place and away from dangerous objects or sharp objects.
- Avoid using violence to restrain the patient's movements.
- Place a pillow or other mat to support the patient's head.
- Do not put any object in the patient's mouth during the seizure.
- Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck of the sufferer.
- Position the patient's head tilted to the right or left, to prevent vomit from entering the throat.
- Immediately call for medical assistance from the emergency room or the nearest health center.
- Stay with the patient until the seizures stop or until medical personnel arrives.
Management of seizures in the hospital
When a seizure sufferer arrives at the hospital and gets treatment, the doctor will give anti- seizure drugs so that the patient's condition returns to stability. The type and dosage of anti-seizure drugs given can be different for each patient.
If the cause of the seizure is known, the doctor will provide treatment according to the cause. The action given can be by administering drugs, surgery to correct brain abnormalities, or implanting a special device that helps control the flow of electricity in the brain.
Apart from undergoing medical treatment, sufferers of seizures due to epilepsy will be advised to undergo a ketogenic diet . This diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
The ketogenic diet is believed to prevent or reduce seizures in epilepsy, especially in children. However, this diet can cause various side effects. Therefore, consult with your doctor first before doing it.
Seizures that do not get proper treatment are at risk of recurring at an unexpected time. This can endanger the health of yourself or others, for example:
- Injuries from falls
- Pregnancy complications
- Anxiety disorders or depression
Although rare, people with seizures can experience persistent seizures , otherwise known as status epilepticus . This condition is classified as an emergency because it can increase the risk of permanent brain damage, aspiration pneumonia , and even death.
In general, there is no way to prevent seizures. However, there are several efforts that can be made to reduce the risk of developing this condition, namely:
- Get enough rest and sleep at night
- Eat a balanced nutritious diet
- Exercise regularly
- Manage stress well
- Do not use NAPZA
- Undergoing treatment for a medical condition that is being suffered
Preventing Injury during Seizures
It has been mentioned before that seizures can endanger yourself and others. To prevent this, there are several ways you can do it, namely:
- Avoid swimming or getting into the tub when alone
- Do not drive a car or motorcycle alone
- Equip chairs and tables at home with cushions
- Installing a thick carpet on the floor