After a seizure, the body feels as though it’s been hit by a Mack Truck. The muscles are tight, and the whole body hurts.
The muscles in your legs feel like they’re locked and can’t move.
You’ll also feel a lot of pain in your head and face. Your jaw and cheeks can be so sore you can’t eat or drink.
Seizures can also cause loss of consciousness, which can be a life-threatening situation.
Seizures can cause:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of coordination
- Vision problems
- Slurred speech
Seizures can last from minutes to hours. Most people will have one or more seizure episodes.
Seizures usually last between one to three minutes. Afterward, the person may have no memory of the seizure.
Seizures are most common in people who:
- Are between the ages of 2 and 30
- Have a family history of seizures
- Have one or more children
- Have a developmental disability, such as intellectual disability
- Have a previous seizure
- Have a brain injury
- Have an infection or inflammation in the brain
- Have a fever
- Have an electrolyte imbalance
- Have an infection elsewhere in the body
- Have migraine
Severe seizures can be dangerous. Call 911 if you or someone you know is having a seizure. Seek medical attention if seizures last longer than a few minutes.
It’s also important to know the signs of a seizure.
Signs of a seizure include:
- Staring into space for several seconds
- Jerking or stiffening of the body
- Twitching of the face or body
- Jerking of one or more limbs
Seizures can be life-threatening. If you suspect someone is having a seizure, have them sit up or turn their head to the side to keep the airways open.
Seizures can also be a symptom of:
- A brain tumor
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain infection
- Head trauma
- Seizures associated with medications
How long do seizures last?
The length of a seizure can depend on the type of seizure.
A typical seizure can last between 30 seconds and one minute.
Some people may have a seizure that lasts as long as 30 minutes.
Seizures can be brief or last several minutes.
Seizures can also be generalized or partial.
Partial seizures involve a loss of muscle control in a limited area of the body.
Generalized seizures involve a loss of muscle control throughout the body.
Some seizures are caused by a brain injury. This can include a head injury, stroke, or brain tumor.
Seizures that are caused by a brain injury, such as a stroke, can last longer than a few minutes.
Medications and other treatments can help prevent seizures.
In some cases, the cause of the seizures isn’t clear.
A doctor may need to test a person’s blood or urine to check for infections or other causes of seizures.
Other tests may include:
- Imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI scan, to look for tumors or other abnormalities.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) to check the electrical activity in the brain.
- Blood tests to check for electrolyte imbalances.
- Genetic tests to look for genetic mutations that may cause seizures.
- A drug test to see if a person is taking drugs that can cause seizures.
Seizures often go away on their own, but it can take up to a week to fully recover.
Recovery time can depend on the type of seizure. Someone with a partial seizure may have a long recovery time.
People who have a seizure should rest until the seizure passes.
The American Academy of Neurology provides more information on seizures.
What are the symptoms of a seizure?
A seizure can cause a person to:
Call 911 and get help if the seizure becomes violent, lasts longer than a few minutes, or causes a loss of consciousness.
Fall unconscious or lose consciousness.
Lose control of bladder or bowels.
Become unconscious for an extended period.
Become paralyzed on one side of the body.
Have an open, staring, or jerking appearance.
Have one or more convulsions.
Some people may not have any symptoms.
How can a person stop a seizure?
A person can use medications to control the symptoms of a seizure.
- Anticonvulsants. These medications can help control seizures and reduce the person’s risk of injury.
- Antidepressants. These medications can help control and treat depression and anxiety.
- Antipsychotics. These medications can help control anxiety, depression, and behavior problems.
- Atypical antipsychotics. These medications can help control schizophrenia, a form of psychotic disorder.
People can also use a variety of techniques to help stop a seizure.
These techniques can help prevent a seizure from happening again.
The American Academy of Neurology provides more information on how to stop a seizure.
What is the outlook after a seizure?
Seizures can be dangerous. A person should seek help if they experience:
- Seizures that last longer than a few minutes
- Seizures that cause a loss of consciousness
- A loss of muscle control in one or more parts of the body
- A loss of muscle control in the upper body
- A loss of muscle control in the lower body
People with epilepsy have a higher risk of:
- Seizure recurrence
- Health complications
The American Academy of Neurology provides more information on the outlook after a seizure.
Key points about seizures
- A seizure is a sudden loss of consciousness or muscle control.
- A seizure can be partial or generalized.
- Seizures can be caused by a brain injury, like a head injury, a stroke, or a brain tumor.
- Medications and other treatments can help prevent seizures.
- A person can use a variety of techniques to help stop a seizure.
Seizures are common. They can be scary and dangerous for people who have them. They also can have a dramatic effect on the person who has them.
Seizures can occur in people of all ages, but they’re most common in people aged 2 to 30.
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