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Seizures happen when brain cells fire or “talk” too much, temporarily disrupting the brain’s normal electrical signals. They’re quite common, especially in infants and young children, and they have a wide range of causes.
Certain seizures are easy to recognize (jerking, twitching, stiffness), while others don’t have any outward signs. Researchers believe that about 5 percent of people in the United States experience at least one seizure in their lives.
Many people think of seizures as involving convulsions in a child’s whole body or a temporary loss of consciousness, but with some types of seizures, people may not notice anything out of the ordinary.
Sometimes, seizures are triggered by a disease or injury, but for most children, there is no detectable cause. Sometimes other conditions, such as fainting or stroke, can look like seizures.
Since children’s brains are growing and developing, seizure activity changes as they grow up. A child may be diagnosed with epilepsy if he or she has had two or more unprovoked seizures, or after a single seizure if the child shows evidence of high susceptibility to further seizures.
Seizures may be associated with neurological conditions and problems with learning and behavior. Neurologists and other specialists work to identify these sorts of problems and intervene to help your child both physically and emotionally.
Treatments for seizures have expanded greatly in recent years and include a variety of medications, specialized diets or, in serious cases, a variety of brain surgeries.
Click the tabs at left to learn more about seizures, and click here to learn more about epilepsy.
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