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A seizure is a sudden change in behavior due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Characteristics include convulsions, sensory disturbances, and a loss of consciousness. Experiencing a seizure does not necessarily mean a person has epilepsy -- it can be caused by other things. A doctor will usually order an electroencephalogram, or EEG, to determine the type of seizure experienced.

What Is a Seizure?

A seizure is a brief, sudden change in behavior caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. When brain cells are not working properly, a person's consciousness, movement, or actions may be altered for a short time. These physical changes are called a seizure. They affect people of all races and nationalities.

What Causes It?

There can be a number of reasons why someone has a seizure. For example, many young children have convulsions from fevers (see Febrile Seizures)
Another type of seizure includes those caused by an imbalance of body fluids or chemicals, such as low blood sugar in people with diabetes or by alcohol or drug withdrawal.
Other possible causes may include:
  • An infection of the brain
  • Severe head injury
  • Eclampsia
  • Tumor
  • Stroke
  • Other medical conditions.

Symptoms of a Seizure

Although there are many types of seizures, each with its own symptoms, it is wise to consult a doctor if you experience one or more of these possible symptoms:
  • Episodes of staring or unexplained periods of unresponsiveness
  • "Blackouts" or periods of confused memory
  • Involuntary movement of arms and legs
  • "Fainting spells" with incontinence (or followed by excessive fatigue)
  • Odd sounds, distorted perceptions, or episodic feelings of fear that cannot be explained.
Know the Signs - Concussion Safety

Seizure Information

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