Epilepsy seizures differ in their severity and can cause a wide range of symptoms. Some seizures can be mild and last only a minute or two. Other seizures cause intense symptoms that last much longer. Acute, repetitive seizures can result in damage to the heart or brain, and possibly death if emergency treatment is not given right away.
There are many different ways of classifying seizures. Examples include:
These seizures begin from just one part of the brain. Symptoms include:
The term Jacksonian march implies that the symptoms spread from one part of the body to another. Focal onset seizures can become generalized. This means that they spread to both sides of the brain.
These seizures begin from both sides of the brain. Symptoms include:
One type of generalized seizure without convulsions is known as absence, also called petit mal, seizures. This type is more common in children. Symptoms include:
There are also other types of generalized seizures without convulsive activity.
Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115086/Epilepsy-in-adults. Updated December 8, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2017.
Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900174/Epilepsy-in-children. Updated December 8, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2017.
Epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Epilepsy-Information-Page. Accessed February 6, 2017.
What happens during a seizure? Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-101/what-happens-during-seizure. Accessed February 6, 2017.
Last reviewed February 2017 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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