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What partial epileptic seizures are, and the importance of detecting them

By 6 February, 2018 No Comments

An epileptic seizure is very visible and shocking for those who are not familiar with the condition, who can be immediately alarmed and run to seek medical help. The loss of consciousness of a person suffering from a generalized epileptic seizure makes this visibility clear. However, there are also partial or simple epileptic seizures, which are more difficult to detect. It is important to detect a partial epileptic seizure in time to be able to inform a doctor, since sometimes a partial epileptic seizure can become a generalized one.

The causes of a partial epileptic seizure are the same as those of a generalized one. The sporadic abnormal functioning of a group of neurons is the origin of a seizure, and in partial ones only the neurons in a specific area are affected.

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The discretion of simple crises

These partial or simple crises can go so unnoticed that a school teacher, for example, may think that a child is not paying attention in class (having a fixed gaze or not reacting when asked something) when in fact they are suffering a partial crisis. Depending on the location of a partial seizure, its symptoms may differ. Symptoms of motor origin may occur, which can make sufferers lose control over muscle activity (face, arm, foot or another part of the body), numbness or tingling. Sensory convulsion can also be experienced which causes changes in hearing, vision or sense of smell that can lead to hallucinations or hearing difficulties. Some less visible symptoms may be changes in heart rate, blood pressure or bowel function.
Other warning signs of a partial crisis can be speech difficulty, changes in vision or unusual eye movements (staring or rapid movements), sweating, attention deficit or anxiety.

It is important to be aware of the possible symptoms, since in some cases a partial seizure can lead to loss of consciousness and a generalized seizure.
Most seizures do not last more than 1 to 2 minutes. However, a person may continue to feel confused or have difficulty thinking clearly after a seizure. If a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, it is considered a medical emergency by doctors.

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MJN

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