A seizure is an abnormal electrical discharge of a group of brain cells. It can cause different symptoms, depending on the location of the seizure and the spread of the electrical activity through the brain.
A person has epilepsy when he/she has more than one episode of seizures, or has a high risk of having recurrent seizures.
People who suffered a stroke, brain injury, infection or tumour can have epilepsy. In around half the cases, a cause cannot be found.
Triggers of seizures in patients with epilepsy include stress, lack of sleep, menstruation, concurrent infection and skipping medications.
There are 2 main types:
If a person experiences continuous seizures for more than 3 - 5 minutes; or on and off seizures without regaining consciousness in between, call 995 or go to the Emergency Department immediately.
He/she is having a serious seizure and this is a medical emergency.
REDUCE risk of seizures:
Prevent complications of seizures by AVOIDING the following:
Epilepsy is diagnosed based on information of events that happened during the attack. Tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis, type and cause.
This test records the electrical activity of the brain through electrodes attached to the patient’s head. The patient may be asked to perform simple tasks during the EEG recording.
Computerised Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Either form of imaging may be required to look for structural causes of seizures.
Anti-epileptic medications are the first-line of treatment. Different types of medication may be prescribed. The more common side effects include sleepiness and dizziness.
Patients with focal seizures and are not responding to medications may consider surgery.
Keep a seizure diary to record the number, type and triggers of seizures. This will help your doctors assess the effectiveness of medications.
When someone is having a seizure:
Download the Seizures and Epilepsy brochure