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Must-know causes of seizures

Must-know causes of seizures

The human brain has roughly 86 billion nerve cells called neurons. The primary function of these neurons is to communicate with the rest of the body. They do this by sending electrical impulses and chemical signals. There are different types of neurons. Motor neurons control our body movements, sensory neurons help us feel sensations, and interneurons connect the motor and sensory neurons. But, sometimes, neurons do not work as they should.

What are seizures?
The brain generates electrical signals in an orderly manner. These signals travel along the neurons to various body parts through chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. A disruption in this orderly pattern due to sudden or increased discharge of electrical impulses is called a seizure. Seizures can lead to various symptoms and affect a person’s consciousness, movements, or sensations. A brief lapse of attention, a few jerks, and prolonged convulsions are typical signs.

One may have a seizure at any time, irrespective of whether they are sleeping or awake. But the frequency differs. A person may have one episode in their lifetime or experience secondary or repeated seizures. If someone has more than two unprovoked episodes, doctors will likely diagnose it as epilepsy. Epilepsy patients are likely to have a similar type of seizure every time; the symptoms disappear in a few seconds or within minutes.

What can cause seizures?
Seizures occur when the neurons malfunction and send uncontrollable electric signals. The malfunctions happen due to many underlying causes. Some factors that can cause seizures are:

Brain aneurysms
An aneurysm is a weakened area in the blood vessel that stretches slowly and bulges as blood passes through it. As the aneurysm grows, it exerts pressure on the brain tissue and nerves nearby. This pressure can interfere with the neurons’ electric signals, leading to seizures.

Brain tumors
Not all brain tumors lead to seizures. Low-grade tumors that grow slowly and do not spread pose a lesser risk. But fast-growing tumors, aggressive tumors, and tumors in the cerebral cortex or meninges are factors that can cause seizures.

Brain injury
Structural injury and bleeding or swelling in the brain after a trauma or fall can lead to the problem. A seizure can happen right after the injury or many months or years later. However, not everyone with a brain injury will have a seizure.

Brain diseases
Since seizures are neurological, diseases like Alzheimer’s or frontotemporal dementia can cause them. People with a history of stroke, brain tumor, epilepsy, encephalitis, cerebral edema, and autoimmune disorders are at a higher risk.

Cerebral hypoxia
Seizures caused by a lack of oxygen supply to the brain are called hypoxic seizures. Brain cells die within five minutes due to a lack of oxygen. It can happen to infants after childbirth or adults in the event of drowning or asphyxiation.

Side effects of treatment
People using specific treatments to manage underlying health conditions can have seizures as a side effect. So, one must consult a doctor or healthcare expert to identify treatments that can cause seizures.

Pregnant women with high blood pressure can have seizures that may lead to a coma. It is an emergent situation and can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.

Electrolyte imbalance
Severe or acute electrolyte imbalances in the body can lead to the problem. Therefore one must follow a healthy nutrition plan and take the necessary steps to maintain balanced sodium, calcium, and magnesium levels.

High fever
High fever in a child can cause a febrile seizure or convulsion. It is more likely to happen if an infection causes the fever. The problem may be seen even in healthy children without preexisting conditions.

Viral, fungal, and bacterial infections in the central nervous system can be a trigger as these infecting organisms can invade the brain tissue, causing inflammation. Some brain infections that can cause seizures include bacterial meningitis, brain abscess, human immunodeficiency virus, arbovirus, and herpes simplex.

Very low sugar levels can cause diabetic seizures. Similarly, very high blood sugar may trigger an episode. Monitoring sugar levels regularly and maintaining them with healthy lifestyle changes can reduce the risk.

Sepsis is a serious health condition resulting from an infection in the blood or body tissues, leading to organ failure. Seizures and strokes can happen once sepsis sets in.

People affected by a stroke can have a seizure a few days after the event or even two years later. A hemorrhagic seizure is likely if the stroke is severe.

Toxin exposure
Exposure to natural, environmental, or chemical poisons and toxins can cause partial seizures due to hyperstimulation in the brain signals. One can contact a healthcare expert to learn about the toxins that can cause seizures.

Poor mental health
Stress and anxiety can induce seizures. Such episodes are called psychogenic seizures and are characterized by a lack of consciousness, side-to-side shaking of the head, and pelvic thrusting.