is quite simply the tendency to have recurrent
seizures. A seizure may be known by a
number of different terms, i.e. funny turns,
fits, convulsions. They do however describe
the same thing, a sudden and involuntary
episode of electrical activity in the brain.
there different types of seizures?
are many types of seizure and are usually
divided into two main groups, Generalised
Seizures – These occur when the
abnormal activity which causes a seizure
affects both hemispheres of the brain at
the same time, affecting the level of consciousness.
These seizures may be divided into several
Seizures – These involved a sudden
stiffness of the limbs and/or the whole
body. The main concern about this type
of seizure, (about from the seizure itself)
is the risk of injury from falling (often
likened to a tree falling). Tonic seizure
tend to last no longer than 10 seconds.
Seizures – These describe repeated
and rhythmic contractions of the muscles,
causing twitches and jerks of limbs or the
whole body. They tend to last between
30 seconds and a couple of minutes, although
can last longer.
Clonic Seizures – These types of
seizures are what many think of when considering
what a seizure is, and is often referred
to as a Grand-mal. This type of seizure
is a combination of the tonic and clonic
types with the clonic phase, i.e. rhythmic
jerking coming after the tonic phase, i.e.
– These are sudden jerks affecting any part
of the body and last for a split second.
Seizures – Also known as Astatic
seizures. These involve a sudden loss
of muscle tone, i.e. a sudden relaxation
of the muscles. These last for no more
than a few seconds.
Seizures - Also known as Petit-mal.
Usually the person described as going
into a sudden daydream state and is completely
unaware of there surroundings. These tend
to last no more than 30 seconds, although
can be longer.
Seizures – This type of seizure
is where the person retains consciousness
throughout. Generally these involve sensory
stimuli such as a strange rising feeling
in the stomach, strange taste, a feeling
of déjà vu, or an unexplained fear.
Partial Seizures – This is where
the consciousness is affected, and may result
in behaviour which seems odd or bizarre
e.g. taking clothes off in the street. The
person may look confused and even dazed.
you have more than one type of seizure?
– Some seizures begin with a partial seizure
which they might refer to as their warning
signal, and progress to a Tonic Clonic seizure,
these are known as secondary generalised
tonic clonic seizures. Other people might
get a mixture of 2 or 3 different seizure
over half of epilepsy cases there is no
known cause, they are what is known as Idiopathic.
In others the epilepsy may have been caused
by a head injury, an infection of the brain
such as meningitis or by a brain tumour,
or by being starved of oxygen at birth.
Epilepsy where the cause is known is referred
to as symptomatic.
there a genetic link?
especially with primary (idiopathic) generalised
epilepsy, although not where the epilepsy
is thought to be symptomatic.
the flickering of the Television or Computer
bring on a seizure?
although this is extremely rare, and occurs
in a condition know as photosensitive epilepsy,
which only affects 2-3% of those who have
epilepsy linked to low intelligence?
– Epilepsy can occur in anyone regardless
of intelligence. Nevertheless those who
have brain damage or whose brains have not
developed properly are more likely to have
famous people diagnosed with epilepsy include,
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Agatha
Christie, Charles Dickens, Richard Burton
to name but a few.
though I have epilepsy, can I drive?
– However the Law states that:-
licence can be granted if the applicant
with epilepsy satisfies the following conditions:-
must have been free from any epileptic seizure
for one year immediately preceding the date
from which the licence is to have effect.
have experienced seizures only whilst asleep
for a period of three years immediately
preceding the date from which the licence
is to have effect.
both cases, the applicant is unlikely to
be a source of danger to the public.
a person has had a single seizure with no
previous history, they must inform the DVLA,
failure to do so automatically renders the
persons licence and insurance null and void.
LGV/PSV – A person with a history of seizures
can drive a large Goods or Public Service
Vehicle if they have been free from epileptic
seizures for 10 years, and have not taken
anti-epileptic medication for 10 years,
and have been declared medically fit to
drive by a DVLA nominated consultant.
I entitled to any benefit?
– You may be entitled to Disability Living
Allowance or Attendance Allowance, Disabled
Persons Tax Credit or Incapacity Benefit.
Our advice is to contact your local
Citizens Advice Bureau or Welfare Rights
Centre and ask them to carry out a benefits
checklist. People with epilepsy are also
entitled to a free Bus Pass and free prescriptions.