When a patient has a seizure, the electrical activity in her brain is disrupted. The Merck Manual Home Edition states that about two percent of adults have a seizure, though two-thirds of them never have another one. Seizures are grouped into two categories: epileptic and non-epileptic. Epileptic seizures occur repeatedly with no cause, while non-epileptic seizures are brought on by another condition. There are different types of seizures which have various symptoms. The majority of patients (70 percent) have only one type of seizure, according to the Manual.
The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey states that partial seizures, also called focal seizures, are the most common seizures. When a patient has a partial seizure, the abnormal electrical activity occurs on only one hemisphere of the brain. With a simple partial seizure, the patient does not have problems with consciousness or memory. A type of simple partial seizure, Jacksonian seizures have symptoms that start in one area of the body and move to another part.
Complex Partial Seizures
The other type of partial seizure, complex partial seizures, do affect memory and behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Symptoms include staring, not understanding what other people say, smacking lips, moving limbs in strange ways and speaking nonsense.
Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures
Unlike partial seizures, generalized seizures have abnormal electrical activity on both hemispheres of the brain. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures, also called grand-mal seizures, are the type of seizure that people associate with epilepsy, according to the NIH. Each episode lasts between one to two minutes. Symptoms of generalized tonic-clonic seizures are drooling, falling, tongue biting and severe muscle spasms.
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