Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get some information on seizures

Seizures are caused by sudden, large discharges of electrical impulses from brain cells. A seizure may involve a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the part of the brain affected and the type of seizure.
What are the causes and risks of the injury?

Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. These may include conditions such as the following:
_ abnormalities in the blood vessels of the brain
_ atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries supplying the brain
_ bleeding into the brain, such as a subarachnoid hemorrhage
_ brain tumors
_ chromosomal abnormalities
_ congenital diseases or conditions
_ high blood pressure
_ pregnancy and problems associated with pregnancy
_ stroke
_ transient ischemic attack, which is also called a mini-stroke

Diseases also can be a factor in seizures, for example:
_ advanced liver disease
_ Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia
_ epilepsy, or a disease of the nervous system
_ hereditary diseases
_ infections involving the brain, including encephalitis, brain abscess, and bacterial meningitis
_ kidney failure, such as chronic renal failure

Injuries that may cause seizures include the following:
_ choking
_ head injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or sports injury
_ electrical injuries
_ injury during birth or in the uterus
_ poisonous insect bites or stings

Additional factors that may cause seizures include the following:
_ alcohol withdrawal
_ craniotomy, which is brain surgery
_ high fever, especially in young children
_ illegal drugs, such as cocaine
_ lead poisoning
_ overheating
_ withdrawal from some medicines, including those used to treat seizures

What are the treatments for the injury?

When a seizure occurs, the first treatment is to keep the person safe. Anyone giving first aid to a person having a seizure should follow these steps:
_ If possible, move furniture and other sharp objects away from the person.
_ If the victim starts to vomit, roll him or her on his or her side.
_ Protect the person from falling and from hitting his or her head.
_ Stay with the victim and get help from his or her healthcare professional.
_ Try to prevent the victim from hurting him or herself or someone nearby.

When someone has a seizure, it's important that bystanders do not:
_ move the victim, unless he or she is in serious danger
_ place fingers in the victim's mouth
_ restrain the victim
_ slap the victim or try to stop him or her from convulsing
_ try to give rescue breaths or CPR during the seizure

If an infant or a child is having a seizure that seems to be caused by a high fever, it is important to cool the body slowly. Do not immerse the child in a cold bath. Instead, use a sponge or cool compress with lukewarm water.

After a seizure is over, the victim will probably want to sleep. This is OK. He or she will also be somewhat disoriented. The period following a seizure is called the postictal phase.

Contact emergency medical services right away if:
_ seizures are lasting longer than 2 minutes
_ the victim had a seizure while in water
_ the victim has never had a seizure before
_ the victim has other health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure
_ the victim is having many seizures
_ the victim is ill, has a fever, seems very weak, or is drunk
_ the victim is not able to be awakened between seizures

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Seizures can injure the person and anyone giving first aid. The person can end up with head injuries, cuts, abrasions, scratches, and injured limbs. The person's flailing arms or other body parts can hurt anyone who is helping. Sometimes seizures last so long that the person loses consciousness. And rarely, the person can have brain damage.

What happens after treatment for the injury?

A healthcare professional may prescribe medicine to prevent future seizures. It is also important to control high blood pressure or heart disease. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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