A seizure involves abnormal
electrical activity in the brain. It affects both the mind and the body. Many problems
can cause you to have a seizure. These include:
If you have epilepsy, you may have seizures again and again.
You may have status epilepticus if you have a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes,
or if you have more than 1 seizure within a 5-minute period, without returning to a
normal level of consciousness between episodes. This is a medical emergency. It may lead
to permanent brain damage or death.
Status epilepticus is very rare.
Most people with epilepsy will never have it. This condition is more common in young
children and elderly adults.
This condition can occur as:
In children, the main cause of
status epilepticus is an infection with a fever. In adults, the common causes are:
There are many risk factors for
status epilepticus, such as:
These are possible symptoms of status epilepticus:
Your healthcare provider will do a
physical exam. He or she will ask about your past health, any medicines you are taking,
and if you’ve been using alcohol or other drugs.
Your healthcare provider may also order an electroencephalogram. This involves placing painless electrodes onto your scalp to measure the brain's electrical activity.
You may need other tests to search
for possible causes, such as:
The healthcare provider will want
to end the seizure as quickly as possible and treat any underlying problems that are
causing it. You may need:
Healthcare providers may also use
anti-seizure medicines to treat the problem, such as:
These medicines are given through
an IV or an injection into a muscle.
Complications depend on the
underlying cause. They can range from no problems to death. If the cause, such as poor
epilepsy control, can be fixed, there may be no problems. If the cause is a stroke or
brain injury, a person may suffer physical disability to even death.
If you have epilepsy, taking your
medicines as directed may help you avoid this problem. If you’ve had status epilepticus,
you may need to begin taking seizure medicines or change medicines you’re already
taking. You may also be able to prevent this health problem by:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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