Known Causes Of Seizures
With the exception of the elderly and infants, the causes of seizures are often unidentifiable. There are plenty of things that can upset the delicate system of nerve cell communication. Often, these are things that cannot be pinned down right away.
What is clear is that in a seizure, something goes awry with the electrical impulses in the brain. Nerve cells keep on firing electrical impulses which are not received by other nerve cells that are supposed to receive them. This results in a surge of energy in the brain, leading to loss of consciousness and abnormal movements of certain body parts that are controlled by the areas of the brain that are undergoing malfunction.
In about 70% of all people who have epilepsy and in the majority of people who have had one or more attacks of seizure, the cause cannot be found. For the rest of the patients, the cause can be anything that alters the way the brain functions or works. The following are the most common causes of seizures according to age bracket:
Temporary metabolic abnormalities which may include abnormal levels of calcium, vitamin B6, sugar or glucose, magnesium and sodium in the body can trigger seizures among infants and toddlers. High fevers are also a very common cause. Seizures that root from these causes often resolve on their own, and can be expected not to recur. But a repetitive attack that has no trigger, otherwise called as unprovoked epilepsy, may be caused by any of the following: brain malfunctions, brain injury, lack of oxygen during birth, maternal drug use, infection, and intracranial hemorrhage.
Neonatal seizure is among the most common types of seizure observed among children. It is often difficult to identify this occurring because most of the classic symptoms associated with the condition are absent such as loss of consciousness and convulsions. Instead, infants experiencing neonatal seizures may repetitively smack their lips, look in different directions with periods of no breathing.
Infants and Children
Three percent of children in the United States experience a seizure or two sometime during their infanthood and childhood. Half of the cases are classified as febrile seizure or the type of seizure that is associated with fever. Only 1% of all children experiencing recurring seizure qualifies as epilepsy.
Infants with febrile seizure are most likely to have contracted illness or infection such as chickenpox, cold, and ear infection that is accompanied by fever.
Children and Adults
Three out of four cases of seizure in children have causes that are unidentifiable. In 25% of all children with seizure, a disorder or two have been found to be the underlying problem. These include fainting, migraines, night terrors, breath-holding spells, and other psychiatric disturbances. Developmental problems such as cerebral palsy, meningitis and head injury and trauma are also known to trigger seizure at a very young age.
Among adults, structural damages in the brain caused by head trauma or injury as well as serious medical conditions like stroke are among the top causes of seizures. Withdrawal from chemical substances like alcohol and use or overdose of addictive recreational drugs like cocaine and amphetamines may also trigger the familiar symptoms of seizure.
Seizures among the elderly are typically caused by a degenerative condition called Alzheimer's disease, by stroke and by head trauma.
The First Seizure