Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD.
DiagnosisA seizure is caused by
abnormal signals in the brain. This may be brought on by a head injury, stroke,
brain infection, or tumor, but more than half the time the cause is unknown.
During a grand mal seizure, patients may lose consciousness as well as bowel and
bladder control. They may stop breathing or may become injured during the severe
muscle contractions.Living With
Your DiagnosisGrand mal or
tonic-clonic seizures are characterized by four phases. Recognizing these may be
important. Grand mal seizures are often preceded by an odd feeling, strange
taste or odor, or headache. These warning signs are known as auras (phase 1).
Not all grand mal seizures are preceded by an aura. This type of seizure
generally begins with a rigid stiffening of the body, lasting a minute or less,
and loss of consciousness. This is known as the tonic phase (phase 2). This is
followed by the tonic-clonic phase that appears as strong muscle contractions
and convulsions (phase 3). The tonic-clonic phase may last several minutes. A
tonic-clonic seizure generally causes a loss of consciousness, vigorous muscle
contractions, and loss of control of your bladder and/or bladder. Persistence of
tonic-clonic seizure activity is a medical emergency called status epilepticus.
Immediately after the seizure is the postictal phase where the patient gradually
returns to consciousness from a level of stupor and confusion (phase 4). When
epilepsy is newly diagnosed, you must take several precautions until you have
confidence that your seizure disorder is well controlled. If you live alone, you
should make arrangements for someone to stay with you until your physician
believes it is safe for you to resume living alone.
your physician may want to get a computed tomography (CT) scan of your brain and
a brain wave study (electroencephalogram, [EEG]) to determine whether there is a
known cause for your seizures. The primary treatment for seizures is medication.
Sometimes more than one
antiseizure(anticonvulsant) medication may
be used. Your physician may have to obtain blood samples at times to ensure that
you are receiving the correct dose of medication. Your dose schedule may be
adjusted to achieve a protective blood level of medication. There are several
different medications that may be used, and your physician will give you
information about the side effects associated with each medication prescribed.
Often, the medication will decrease the frequency and severity of the seizure
but some individuals, despite medication, continue to have
DOs• Take your medication as
prescribed to prevent seizures.•
Wear an ID bracelet indicating that you have a seizure disorder and listing the
medications you are taking.• Teach
your family and friends about your disorder and what to do if you have a
seizure.• If you feel a seizure
coming on, tell someone near you and lie
operate dangerous machinery or drive unless your physician has
approved.• Don’t swim
alone.• Don’t climb on ladders
or roofs or anything that may be dangerous should you have a
seizure.When to Call Your
Doctor• If the patient is
injured during a seizure, has difficulty breathing, or does not regain
consciousness shortly after the
seizure.• If the patient has
continuous tonic-clonic seizures. This is a medical emergency called status
epilepticus. Call “911” for an
ambulance.• If you have any problems
associated with your medications.•
If your seizures become more frequent or