What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that reason unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. There are two main types of seizures. General seizures have an effect on the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain. A mild seizure may be hard to identify. It can last a few seconds during which you lack awareness.

Stronger seizures can reason spasms and uncontrollable muscle twitches and can last a few seconds to several minutes. During a stronger seizure, some people become confused or lose consciousness. Afterward, you may have no memory of it happening.

There are several reasons you might have a seizure. These include:

  • high fever
  • head trauma
  • very low blood sugar
  • alcohol withdrawal

What are the symptoms of epilepsy?

Seizures are the main sign of epilepsy. Symptoms differ from person to person and according to the type of seizure.

Focal (partial) seizures

A simple partial seizure doesn’t involve loss of consciousness. Symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • tingling and twitching of limbs
  • alterations to the sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch

Complex partial seizures involve loss of awareness or consciousness.

Other symptoms include

  • performing repetitive movements
  • Generalized seizures
  • staring blankly
  • unresponsiveness

Generalized seizures engage the whole brain.

There are six types

Absence seizures, which used to be called petit mal seizures, reason a blank stare. This type of seizure may also cause repetitive movements like lip smacking or blinking. There’s also usually a short loss of awareness.

Tonic seizures reason muscle stiffness.

Atonic seizures lead to loss of muscle control and can make you fall down suddenly.

Clonic seizures are characterized by repeated, jerky muscle movements of the face, neck, and arms.

Myoclonic seizures reason spontaneous quick twitching of the arms and legs.

Tonic-clonic seizures used to be called “grand mal seizures.” Symptoms include:

  • stiffening of the body
  • shaking
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • biting of the tongue
  • loss of consciousness