What transpires during a seizure in your child’s brain? Here is a brief description: Neurons, the billions of nerve cells that make up your brain, exchange small electrical impulses with one another. When several cells discharge an electrical charge simultaneously, a seizure occurs.
A seizure is caused by an abnormally large and powerful electrical surge that overwhelms the brain and may result in muscular spasms, loss of consciousness, odd behaviour, or other symptoms.
- Anyone may have a seizure in certain situations. A seizure could be caused by anything like a fever, a lack of oxygen, a brain injury, or an infection. When seizures happen more than once without a clear reason, a person is diagnosed with epilepsy. About seven out of ten times, the cause of the seizures cannot be determined. The term “idiopathic” or “cryptogenic” refers to a seizure type in which the aetiology is unknown. The issue may be with the brain’s neurons firing out of control, which causes seizures.
- Doctors are learning more and more about the many kinds of seizures’ origins thanks to genetic studies. Seizures have historically been classified based on their outward appearance and the EEG (electroencephalogram) pattern. Experts are learning more about the unique ways that various kinds of seizures arise because to study into the genetics of seizures. This may eventually result in specific therapy for every seizure type that causes epilepsy.
Diagnosing Seizure in Children
- A seizure might be difficult to identify. Since seizures end so rapidly, your doctor is unlikely to ever see your kid experiencing one. A doctor must first rule out other illnesses, such as nonepileptic seizures, before making a diagnosis. These may mimic seizures, although their causes are often unrelated, such as changes in heart rhythm, reductions in blood sugar or blood pressure, or mental stress.
- Your doctor will need to know how you described the seizure in order to make a diagnosis. Additionally, think about bringing the whole family to the doctor’s office. Even very young children who have an epileptic sibling may pick up on details about the seizures that the parents may not. You may also want to have a video camera close by so you can record your kid having a seizure. Although it may come out as an unkind suggestion, a video may be a huge asset in helping the doctor make a precise diagnosis.
- Absence seizures, for example, might be misdiagnosed as daydreaming, making them particularly challenging to detect.
- According to William R. Turk, MD, head of the neurology department of the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, “Nobody misses a grand mal (generalized tonic-clonic) seizure.” “When a person falls on the ground, tremors, and sleeps for three hours, you can’t help but notice.” However, absence or staring seizures may last years without being recognised.
- Turk advises parents not to be alarmed if their kids look out the window in the vehicle or at cartoons on TV with their mouths open. The majority of children who seem to be daydreaming are really simply daydreaming. Instead, keep an eye out for spells that occur at odd times, including when your kid is speaking or acting and then abruptly stops.
- Simple or complicated partial seizures, for example, might be mistaken for other medical illnesses including migraines, psychiatric disorders, or even drug or alcohol intoxication. The diagnosis of seizures often involves doing medical testing. A physical examination and blood tests will undoubtedly be performed by your child’s doctor. A brain scan, such as an MRI with a specialised epilepsy protocol, or an EEG to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain may also be ordered by the doctor.
The Children’s Seizure Risks
- Even though they may seem unpleasant, seizures don’t really hurt. However, they could terrify nearby youngsters and adults. Simple partial seizures are particularly scary for kids because they may cause an abrupt, overpowering sensation of panic. For instance, the inability to regulate one’s activities is an issue with complicated partial seizures. They can end up acting strangely or inappropriately, upsetting others around them. Children may hurt themselves while having a seizure if they fall to the ground or bump against nearby objects. However, seizures themselves are often not dangerous.
- The long-term repercussions of seizures on the brain are a mystery to experts. In the past, the majority of experts believed that seizures did not harm the brain in any way, attributing any damage to a person’s brain to an underlying disease. But now, some scepticism is starting to surface.
- Clinical Neurophysiology and Child Neurology director Solomon L. Moshe, MD, is cautiously exploring the issue at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He argues, “I don’t believe it’s fair to say whether seizures inflict long-term harm or not.” “I believe that each situation is unique.”
- Moshe observes that young children’s minds are incredibly malleable. They may have the lowest risk of epilepsy of experiencing any brain damage after a seizure.
Dangerous Seizures in Children
- The majority of seizures are not harmful and don’t need to be treated right away, but one form does. Status epilepticus is a potentially fatal condition in which a person has extended seizures or many seizures back to back without recovering consciousness.
- Although those who have epilepsy are more likely to have status epilepticus, roughly one-third of those who do not have prior experience of a seizure. You should immediately seek emergency medical assistance if a seizure lasts more than five minutes, since the dangers of status epilepticus rise as the episode continues.
- A condition known as Sudden Unexplained Death, in which a person passes away for no apparent cause, may also be mentioned to you. Anyone may experience it, but someone with epilepsy is more likely to do so. Parents of children with epilepsy should be aware that it’s a very unusual occurrence even if the reasons are unknown. The best strategy for averting this disaster is to control seizures, particularly those that happen while you’re sleeping.