Types of Seizures
Seizures is a neurologic condition where there is an alteration in the electrical impulses of the brain causing sudden, involuntary movement of the muscles and altered level of consciousness. More commonly, seizures, also called convulsions when occurring among children, alone are not illnesses but signs of some other medical condition or syndrome. However, there are people who suffer from epilepsy, a seizure disorder where the individual manifests two episodes of seizures but no medical condition can be seen to cause this improper brain impulse conduction.
A guide in understanding and dealing properly with presence of seizures is to understand the type of seizures that happens in humans. In order to appreciate learning about the different kinds and forms of seizures, it must be categorized between primary and secondary seizures, and further between partial and generalized seizures.
Primary seizures are those that result from altered structure or transmission of impulses in the brain. This is directly caused by a nervous system disorder, and epilepsy is usually the said problem. On the other hand, secondary seizures are caused by other medical conditions aside from altered electrical impulses in the brain and may be cardiovascular, infectious or metabolic in nature.
The other method of classifying type of seizures is between partial and generalized seizures. Partial seizures refer to altered electrical impulses that are focused or confined to a small area in the brain while generalized seizures are those that are characterized by extensive alteration in normal impulse transmission in more than a region of the brain. It must also be noted that some seizures may begin as partial and later become converted to generalized seizure, and vice versa. Moreover there are further types of seizures under the categories based on extent of affected area in the brain.
Partial seizures may be categorized as simple partial, complex partial and secondary generalized seizures. In the simple partial type, there is no noted change in level of consciousness but the persons affected by it manifest motor symptoms such as jerking, stiffening, spasms and head turning; sensory symptoms seen as unusual changes in any of the five senses; and psychological symptoms seen as changes in memory or emotional ability.
Complex partial seizures usually affect the temporal lobe of the brain, and this is the type of seizures that causes changes in consciousness. Persons with this kind of seizure share similar symptoms with simple partial type plus presentation of repetitive, involuntary movements such as lip smacking, walking and fidgeting. Inappropriate behavior may also be seen. Secondary generalized seizures begin as simple partial but convert into grand mal pr generalized kind of seizures.
Generalized seizures may be classified into absence, atypical absence, tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, atonic and myoclonic seizures. Absence seizures are those manifested by short loss of consciousness about a few seconds and with minimal or no other symptoms at all. Tonic seizures involve muscle stiffness while clonic has repeated, jerking movements. Atonic seizures present as sudden loss of muscle tone, myoclonic has jerky movements in the body that occur in episodes and tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures shows loss of consciousness, uncontrolled movements and muscle rigidity.
The importance of understanding the type of seizures presented by an individual is in how the symptom may be managed and handled by the health care providers or the person witnessing it.